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I  By  Rev.  A.  J.  Gordon,  D*  D*  % 

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*  Adoniram  Judson    Gordon.    A  Biography.  J 

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How  ^ 

Christ  Came  to  Church 



By  a.  J.  GORDON,  D.  D. 

PRETING   THE  MAN  >    . 

By  a.  T.  PIERSON,  D.  O. 

Lo,  I  am  with  you  alway  " 

The  Christ 

New  York  Chicago  Toronto 

Publishers  of  Evangelical  Literature 

1420  Chestnut  Street,  Philadelphia 

BOSTON        NEW  YORK        CHICAGO        ST.  LOUIS        DALLAS        ATLANTA 





R  1916  L 

Copyright  189s  by  the 



PART    I 
The  Life-Story vii-xxiii 


How  Christ  Came  to  Church     .    .    .  25-92 

I.  The  Dream  .    .    .    .    , 27 

II.  Here  To-day   .    , 33 

III.  And  to  Come  Again 44 

IV.  If  I  Had  not  Come 56 

V.  In  Thy  Light 65 

VI.  The  Temple  of  God  is  Holy 74 

VII.  Cleansing  the  Temple 85 



The     Dream      as     Interpreting     the 
Man 93-149 

I.  Loyalty  to  the  Person  of  Christ     .    ,  100 

II.  The  Personal  Coming  of  Christ  ...  106 

III.  The     Sacredness    of    the    Preacher's 

Vocation 113 

IV.  Jealousy  for  Divine  Worship 121 

V.  The  Authority  of  the  Word  of  God  127 

VI.  The    Scriptural    Pattern    of    Church 

Life 133 

VII.  The  Presidency  of  the  Spirit  in  the 

Church 139 

VIII.   The   Last   Message  to  the  Church  ,    .  146 




0\V  simple  and  brief  are  the  outlines  of 
a  human  life.  And  yet  only  eternity 
can  fill  out  those  outlines,  and  make 

visible    the    unseen     mysteries    which    we    call 

character   and   influence. 

Adoniram  Judson  Gordon 

IVas  bom  April  ig,  iSj6. 

Was  cojiverted  to  God  in  i8j2,  and  was  bap- 
tized the  same  year. 

Was  in  New  London,  from  i8^j  to  183'j  ;  in 
Brown  University ,  from  iSjy  to  i860  ;  in  Newto7i 
Theological  Seminary ,  from  i860  to  i86j. 

Ordaif led  at  Jamaica  Plain,  June,  i86j. 

Married  to  Maria  Hale,  October  ij,  iS6j. 

Removed  to  Boston,  December,  i86g. 

Departed  this  life,  February  2,  i8g^. 


This  life  thus  reaches  over  a  period  lacking 
little  of  three-score  years,  and  may  be  roughly 
divided  into  three  parts,  each  embracing  about 
twenty  years  :  the  first  twenty,  his  growth  to  man- 
hood ;  the  second  twenty,  his  development  as  a 
Bible  student  and  preacher  of  the  word  ;  and  the 
third  period  being  especially  memorable  for  his 
maturity  as  a  Spirit-filled  teacher  and  leader. 

The  character  and  life  of  Dr.  Gordon  are  so 
rich,  both  in  incident  and  suggestion,  so  full  of 
lessons  in  living  for  generations  to  come,  that  it  is 
proposed  to  prepare  a  fuller  biography  hereafter. 
But,  by  way  of  introducing  this  marvelous  per- 
sonality to  readers  who  were  acquainted  with  the 
man  only  through  his  writings  or  public  utterances, 
it  may  be  well  to  give  a  brief  sketch,  as  in  profile, 
of  his  leading  characteristics,  and  especially  such 
as  may  help  to  elucidate  the  experiences  connected 
with  the  dream,  here  recorded. 

Dr.  Gordon  will  long  be  remembered  as  a 
prince  among  the  preachers  and  teachers  of  the 
modern  pulpit.  With  preachers,  as  with  music- 
ians, there  are  different  and  distinct  classes,  and 
it  is  easy  to  find  to  which  he  belongs. 

Some  study  to  express  the  word  and  mind  of 
God  ;  they  are  exegetes.  Others  study  their  own 
states  and  express  their  own  spiritual  moods  and 
experiences  ;  they  are  autobiographers.  Others 
deal  in  divine  conceptions,  but  invest  them  with 
the  interest  of  their    own    experimental    history  ; 


these  are  witnesses  and  reach  the  truest  ideal. 
Dr.  Gordon  was  one  of  these.  No  man's  preach- 
ing was  a  more  faithful  exposition  of  the  word  of 
God.  He  would  have  counted  it  an  affront  to  the 
Scriptures  to  use  them  as  a  mere  convenience  to 
hang  his  own  thoughts  on,  or  caricature  them  by 
a  misapplication  of  sacred  words.  He  was  both 
too  original  in  research  and  too  independent  in 
opinion,  to  become  a  mere  reflector  of  others' 
views,  like  the  copyist,  or  substitute  sound  for 
sense  like  the  dealer  in  platitudes.  He  honestly, 
patiently,  and  prayerfully  studied  the  word  of 
God,  and  then  illustrated — we  might  almost  say 
illuminated — it  by  his  own  experience. 

No  review  of  this  life,  however  hasty,  must 
leave  out  his  work  as  an  author.  Ten  marked 
contributions  to  the  literature  of  the  age  remain, 
apart  from  the  editorials  and  more  transient  arti- 
cles in  the  "Watchword,"  the  rehgious  news- 
papers, the  "Missionary  Review,"  etc.  His 
books  fall  into  five  classes.  One  on  "The  Min- 
istry of  Healing,"  another,  his  "Coronation 
Hymnal,"  and  this  last,  his  "  Spiritual  Autobiog- 
raphy," must  stand  by  themselves.  Then  there 
are  four  precious  books  which  center  about  the 
person  of  Christ :  "In  Christ,"  "The  Two-fold 
Life,"  "Grace  and  Glory,"  and  "Ecce  Venit," 
Two  have  specially  to  do  with  the  Holy  Spirit  : 
"The  Ministry  of  the  Spirit,"  and  the  "Holy 
Spirit  in  Missions."      But  what  a  wide  range  and 


scope  of  treatment,  and  on  what  vital  themes  !  It 
is  not  too  much  to  say  of  these  books  that  they 
constitute  rehgious  classics,  and  ought  to  form 
part  of  every  well-furnished  library. 

In  his  literary  style  three  things  are  peculiarly 
prominent  :  first,  his  vigorous  and  discriminating 
use  of  language  ;  secondly,  his  marvelous  power 
of  analysis  and  antithesis  ;  and  thirdly,  his  simple, 
natural,  forceful  illustrations.  In  these  respects 
his  writings  will  repay  any  one  for  critical  and 
habitual  study.  If  the  literary  productions  of 
any  man  of  this  century  can  in  these  respects 
supply  a  better  model  for  young  men  who  are  pre- 
paring to  preach,  we  know  not  where  they  are  to 
be  found.  Dr.  Gordon's  book,  for  instance,  on 
the  "  Ministry  of  the  Spirit,"  is  so  tersely  written 
and  so  carefully  wrought  out  in  every  part,  that 
there  is  scarcely  one  needless  noun  or  heedless 
adjective  in  all  the  sixty  thousand  words  w^hich 
compose  it  ;  while  every  page  bristles  with  new 
and  instructive  suggestions  ;  and  the  whole  is  so 
reverent  and  worshipful  that  it  suggests  a  man 
consciously  treading  on  holy  ground. 

Twenty-five  years  of  this  serviceable  life  were 
spent  in  the  Clarendon  Street  Church,  Boston  ; 
and  in  helping  to  mold  that  church  into  conformity 
with  primitive  apostolic  models  was  found  the 
crowning  work  of  his  life.  It  implies  neither 
exaggeration  of  his  own  merit  nor  depreciation  of 
the  service  of  any  other  man  to  affirm  that  it  was 


permitted  to  him,  amid  the  atmosphere  of  Unita- 
rianism  and  hberahsm,  to  build  up  a  beheving 
brotherhood,  characterized  by  as  simple  worship, 
pure  doctrine,  and  primitive  practice  as  any  other 
in  the  world. 

To  those  who  are  familiar  with  the  inner  secrets 
of  the  life  of  this  church,  its  central  charm  is  one 
which  is  not  apparent  to  the  common  eye  :  the 
adnmtistration  of  the  Holy  Spirit  is  there  devoutly 
recognized  and  practically  realized.     The  beloved 
pastor  sought,  and  with  great   success,  to  impress 
upon  his  people  the  fact  that  in  the  body  of  Christ 
the  Holy  Spirit  literally  though  invisibly  indwells  ;    ; 
that  he  is  ready,  if  he  finds  a  willing  people,  to    • 
oversee  and  administer  all    that  pertains  to  the 
affairs  of  the  body  of   Christ  ;    and  that,  as   his 
administration  both  demands  and  depends  upon 
co-operation,  there  must  be  neither  secular  men 
nor  secular  methods  introduced  into  the  practical 
conduct  of  Christ's  church,  but  the  Spirit  of  God 
must  be  recognized  and  realized  as  the  Divine  ,  , 
Archbishop  finding  there  his  See.     It  took  years  '^ 
to  get  this  practically  wrought  into  the  life  of  the  \ 
church  ;    but  under  his   persistent  teaching  and 
patient  pastoral  guidance,  there  came  a  gradual 
elimination  of  worldly  elements,    and  a  gradual 
transformation  of  the  whole  church  as  a  working 
body  until   it   has   become   a   model    for    other 
churches,  approximating  very  closely  to  the  apos- 
tolic pattern. 


Dr.  Gordon  has  written  many  noble  books 
and  pamphlets  ;  but  among  all  the  volumes  he  has 
produced,  this  is  the  most  complete  and  satisfac- 
tory. This  church  is  his  permanent  "  living  epis- 
tle." The  golden  pen  of  action,  held  in  the  firm 
hand  of  an  inspired  purpose,  has  been  for  a  quar- 
ter of  a  century  writing  out  its  sentences  in  living 
deeds,  to  be  known  and  read  of  all  men.  And 
the  greatest  problem  now  awaiting  solution  is, 
how  far  this  church  is  going  to  prove  that  the 
Holy  Spirit  still  administers  the  body  of  Christ 
there.  Should  these  brethren  show  that  they  have 
been  inwardly  saying,  "I  am  of  Dr.  Gordon," 
rather  than,  "I  am  of  Christ"  ;  and  were  this 
church  to  prove  only  a  sheaf,  of  which  the  pastor 
was  the  bond,  and  which  when  the  bond  is 
removed  falls  apart,  it  would  be  a  world-wide 
reproach.  If,  on  the  other  hand,  it  shall  not  only 
as  an  organization  survive  the  pastor's  removal, 
but  shall  preserve  jealously  the  high  type  of  excel- 
lence it  attained  under  his  ministry  ;  shall  prove 
not  man-centered  but  Christ-centered  ;  and  shall 
regard  itself  as  a  kind  of  legatee  unto  whom  the 
pastor  has  committed  the  gospel  he  preached,  the 
work  he  began,  and  the  witness  he  maintained,  to 
be  guarded  and  perpetuated — this  survival  of  the 
whole  work  when  the  w^orkman  has  gone  up 
higher,  will  be  a  testimony  to  the  whole  church 
and  the  whole  world,  as  mighty  and  as  far- 
reaching  as  any  witness  of  its  sort  in  our  generation. 


It  is  a  growing  conviction  that  the  hfe-work  of 
Dr.  Gordon  has  reached  singular  completeness, 
a  rounded  symmetry  and  sphericity.  Nothing 
seems  wanting.  In  the  beauty  of  Christian  char- 
acter and  culture  he  had  so  grown  into  the  meas- 
ure of  the  stature  of  the  fullness  of  Christ,  that  it 
may  be  doubted  whether  the  whole  communion  of 
believers  presented  one  man  more  ripe  in  godliness 
and  usefulness.  He  was  in  every  sense  a  great 
man  :  great  in  his  mind,  in  his  genius,  having  not 
only  the  administrative  but  the  creative  faculty  ; 
not  only  organizing  but  originating.  His  versatil- 
ity was  amazing.  He  would  have  been  great  in 
many  spheres.  Had  he  been  a  judge,  with  what 
judicial  equity  and  probity  he  would  have  adorned 
the  bench.  Had  he  been  a  trained  musician, 
what  glorious  oratorios  he  might  have  given  to  the 
world.  Had  he  been  called  to  rule  an  empire, 
with  what  mingled  ability  and  urbanity  he  would 
have  discharged  imperial  functions. 

But  if  he  was  not  great  in  the  eyes  of  men,  he 
was  great  in  the  eyes  of  the  Lord,  and  greatest 
because  of  his  humility.  Ordinary  progress  is 
from  infancy  to  manhood  ;  but,  as  Hudson  Taylor 
says,  Christian  progress  is  in  the  reverse  order, 
from  manhood  perpetually  backward  toward  the 
cradle,  becoming  a  Httle  child  again,  one  of  God's 
little  ones,  for  it  is  the  little  ones  that  get  carried 
in  the  Father's  arms  and  fondled. 
**»    Coleridge  sagaciously  hints   that   the  highest 


accompaniment  of  genius  in  the  moral  sphere  is 
the  carrying  forward  of  the  feehngs  of  youth  into 
the  period  of  manhood  and  old  age.  Dr.  Gordon 
more  than  any  man  I  ever  knew  remained  to  the 
last  perfectly  childlike,  while  he  put  away  and  left 
behind  whatever  was  childish. 

In  estimating  the  character  of  Dr.  Gordon 
great  stress  should  be  laid  on  these  childlike  traits. 
The  ma7i  of  God  was  emphatically  a  child  of  God. 
He  never  lost  his  simplicity  ;  he  rather  grew 
toward  it  than  away  from  It  ;  there  was  a  per- 
petual return  toward  the  spirit,  attitude,  and  habi- 
tude of  a  babe  in  Christ.  His  humility  and  meek- 
ness, his  frankness  and  candor,  his  generosity  and 
gentleness,  will  always  stand  out  conspicuous  in 
the  remembrance  of  all  who  knew  him  best. 

The  love  that  flooded  him  was,  however,  a 
supernatural  grace.  Seldom  do  we  find  such 
energy  of  conviction  softened  by  such  charity  for 
differing  conviction.  His  creed  was  steeped  in 
love.  He  disarmed  criticism  by  magnanimity,  and 
blunted  the  weapons  of  controversy  by  the  impreg- 
nable armor  of  an  imperturbable  equanimity. 
While  I  was  with  him  on  one  of  our  missionary 
tours,  he  gave  utterance  to  certain  convictions 
which  met  strong  opposition  ;  but  one  of  his  most 
stubborn  opponents  confessed  that  he  would 
rather  hear  Dr.  Gordon  when  he  did  not  agree 
with  him  than  any  other  man  when  he  did. 

One  of  the  most  beautiful  features  of  his  work 


and  character  was  his  unconsciousness  of  the  leal 
greatness  of  his  attainment  and  achievement. 
When  the  Spirit  of  God  controls  a  disciple,  growth 
in  grace  and  power  and  service  becomes  so 
natural  and  necessary  as  to  be  largely  unconscious 
and  in  a  sense  involuntary.  Great  results  come 
without  human  planning,  certainly  without  human 
boasting.  Mrs.  Stowe  said  of  "Uncle  Tom's 
Cabin,"  that  greatest  work  of  modern  fiction,  that 
it  was  never  begun  or  carried  on  by  her  with  any 
thought  of  doing  any  great  thing  or  becoming 
famous.  She  was  simply  possessed  of  an  idea 
which  she  had  to  Avork  out  in  a  natural  way,  and 
she  was  a  pen  in  the  hands  of  God.  And  so 
yielding  herself  to  him  as  an  instrument,  a  book 
was  produced  which  God  used  as  a  lever  to  upturn 
and  overturn  a  monstrous  fabric  of  wrong  which 
it  took  a  hundred  years  to  build,  and  which  was 
buttressed  by  commercial  gains  and  carnal  self- 
interest,  and  justified  in  the  name  of  morality  and 
even  religion.  A  book  was  given  to  the  world 
which  Palmerston  thrice  read  for  its  lessons  on 
statesmanship,  and  which  has  been  translated  into 
fifty  tongues. 

This  Boston  pastor,  even  at  the  very  last,  when 
his  successful  pastorate  seemed  so  solitary  in  its 
greatness,  had  no  sense  of  having  done  any  great 
thing  ;  or  if  the  thought  of  his  superb  triumph  ever 
was  suggested  to  him  by  others,  he  could  only 
answer  :   "  What  hath  God  wrought  !  "      "A  man 


can  receive  nothing  except  it  be  given  him  from 

It  is  true,  success  of  such  sort  as  his  is  always 
costly.  No  man  ever  attains  such  exceptional 
godliness,  or  achieves  such  exceptional  usefulness, 
w^ithout  getting  a  reputation  for  being  eccentric,  or 
as  a  fanatic,  if  not  a  heretic.  Aristotle  long  ago 
said  that  there  is  no  great  genius  without  some 
mixture  of  madness  ;  nothing  supremely  grand  or 
superior  was  ever  wrought  save  by  a  soul  agitated 
by  some  great  unrest  and  upheaved  by  some  great 
purpose.  The  torrents  that  are  the  melting  of 
stainless  snows,  high  up  toward  heaven,  and 
w^hich  rush  down  the  side  of  the  mountain  to 
carry  healing  waters  afar  to  dry  and  desert  wastes, 
leave  a  scarred  and  torn  mountain's  breast  behind. 
But,  as  Keith  Falconer  said  :  We  must  not  fear 
to  be  thought  eccentric,  for  what  is  eccentricity 
but  being  out  of  center?  and  we  must  be  out  of 
center  as  to  the  world  if  we  would  be  adjusted  to 
that  other  divine  center  of  which  the  world  knows 

Such  success  also  costs  self-abnegation.  The 
whole  raising  of  our  church-life  depends  on  the 
higher  standard  of  our  ministry.  "  Like  people, 
like  priest."  The  ministry  is  the  supreme  flower 
and  fruit  of  church-life — as  to  growth,  its  sign  of 
consummation  ;  as  to  fruit,  its  seed  of  propagation 
and  reproduction.  The  ambition  after  a  cultivated 
ministry  flatters  pride  and  carnality.     But  there  is 


a  culture  which  is  fatal  to  the  highest  fruitfulness 
in  holy  things.  The  common  wild  rose  has  a 
perfectly  developed  seed  vessel,  but  the  double 
rose,  the  triumph  of  horticulture,  has  none — the 
ovaries  being  by  cultivation  absorbed  into  stamen 
and  petal  :  the  beauty  of  the  blossom  is  at  the 
expense  of  the  fertility  of  the  seed  vessel.  There 
is  a  type  of  ministerial  scholarship  that  is  destruc- 
tively critical  and  proudly  intellectual,  and  hinders 
soul-saving.  Let  it  not  be  thought  that  it  cost 
Dr.  Gordon  nothing  to  renounce  and  resign  the 
proud  throne  among  pulpit  orators  and  biblical 
scholars  which  his  gifts  seemed  to  offer,  and 
seek  simply  to  be  a  Spirit-filled  man — consenting 
to  be  misunderstood,  misrepresented,  ridiculed, 
that  he  might  be  loyal  to  the  still  small  voice 
within  his  soul  ! 

This  beloved  brother  stands  out  as  a  man,  a 
man  of  singularly  gifted  mind,  with  rare  insight 
into  truth  and  clear  methods  of  thinking  and 
expressing  thought ;  a  man  of  large  and  noble 
heart,  quick  in  sympathy,  quickened  into  divine 
love,  and  knowing  the  "expulsive  power  of  a 
new  affection  ' '  for  Christ  ;  a  man  of  clean,  pure 
tongue,  whose  speech  was  seasoned  with  salt  and 
always  with  grace,  anointed  with  power  ;  a  man 
of  blameless  life,  in  whose  conduct  the  Babylon- 
ian conspirators  would  have  found  as  little  flaw  as 
in  Daniel's. 

But  he  interests  us  most  of  all  as  the  rniMt  of 


God,  the  man  of  the  Book,  versed  in  the  word  of 
God  ;  the  ' '  man  in  Christ ' '  whom  we  have  known 
since  "  fourteen  years  ago,"  who  looked  back  for 
his  faith  to  Christ's  first  advent,  and  forward  for 
his  hope  to  his  second  coming  ;  the  man  of  the 
Holy  Ghost  in  whom  the  Spirit  dwelt,  and  who 
dwelt  in  the  Spirit,  as  the  air  is  in  us  and  we  in  it, 
his  element ;  and  as  the  man  of  God,  of  Christ, 
of  the  Spirit ;  in  the  church,  a  faithful  preacher, 
loving  pastor  ;  and  in  the  world,  not  of  it,  yet 
evermore  to  it  a  blessing. 

Personally,  the  writer  who  pens  this  loving 
tribute  never  thinks  of  Dr.  Gordon  without  recall- 
ing one  specially  memorable  and  delightful  experi- 
ence of  association  with  him  in  a  mission  tour 
among  the  churches  of  Auld  Scotland  in  1888. 
After  the  World's  Conference  on  Missions  in 
Exeter  Hall,  London,  and  while  we  were  en  route 
to  the  "Eternal  City,"  an  invitation  came  from 
the  Scottish  capital,  so  urgent  and  earnest,  that 
we  should  visit  Edinburgh  in  the  interest  of  mis- 
sions before  the  students  in  the  theological  schools 
had  scattered  for  the  season,  that  he  felt  moved 
to  abandon  the  Continental  trip,  and  we  went 
back  from  Paris,  arriving  at  Edinburgh  in  time 
for  a  garden  party  at  the  grounds  of  Duncan 
McLaren,  Esq.,  on  Saturday  afternoon,  July  14. 
Then  followed  in  rapid  succession  colossal  meet- 
ings in  the  famous  "Synod  Halls"  of  the  Free 
\  Church,  and  United   Presbyterian  body.     And  so 


great  was  the  impression  made  by  Dr.  Gordon's 
knowledge  of  missions,  grasp  of  the  whole  sub- 
ject, and  especially  his  mingled  earnestness  and 
unction,  that  on  the  sixteenth  of  July  a  crusade 
was  proposed  to  be  undertaken  by  him  and  the 
the  writer  jointly,  among  the  churches  of  Scot- 
land. The  pressure  was  so  great  that  we  yielded 
as  to  the  will  of  God,  and  after  a  week  in  Edin- 
burgh, with  other  great  meetings  in  the  Synod 
Halls,  we  left  together,  visiting  Oban,  Inverness, 
Strathpeffer,  Nairn,  Forres,  Elgin,  and  Aberdeen, 
where  we  spent  August  5th.  Dr.  Gordon  then 
felt  called  to  return  to  America,  and  the  rest  of 
the  tour  was  without  his  helpful  inspiration.  But 
wherever  he  went  in  1888  he  is  remembered,  and 
will  not  be  forgotten  while  this  generation  lasts. 
That  year  the  impulse  thus  given  to  missions  was 
such  that  more  candidates  offered  and  more  money 
was  contributed  than  in  any  previous  year.  Would 
that  such  a  man  could  have  been  spared  to  make 
a  world-tour  of  missions  and  carry  a  like  inspira- 
tion elsewhere  !  When  we  think  of  such  a  man, 
taken  from  us  in  his  very  prime,  when  we  might 
have  counted  on  twenty  years  more  of  service,  we 
can  only  remember  the  words  of  Holy  Scripture  : 

"  Be  still,  and  know  that  I  am  God." 

"  I  was  dumb  with  silence  :  " 

"  I  opened  not  my  mouth  because  Thou 
didst  it." 

"  What  I  do  thou  knowest  not  now  ;  " 


"  But  thou  shalt  know  hereafter." 

We  have  not  yet  come  to  the  point  where  we 
may  penetrate  the  thick  darkness  where  God 
dwells,  and  know  the  secrets  of  his  purpose  who 
doeth  all  things  well.  We  can  only  trust  blindly 
in  the  promise  that  all  things  work  together  for 
good  to  them  that  love  God. 

' '  Ye  sorrow  not  as  others  which  have  no 
hope."  Sorrow  is  not  forbidden,  but  a  hopeless 
sorrow  is  also  a  faithless  sorrow. 

We  begin  the  New  Testament  with  Rama, 
where  Rachel's  disconsolate  grief  still  echoes, 
weeping  and  refusing  to  be  comforted  for  those 
who  are  not.  But  we  are  to  leave  Rama  behind 
as  we  find  Him  who  says  :  "I  am  the  Resurrec- 
tion and  the  Life,"  and  move  on  in  his  company 
toward  the  New  Jerusalem. 

Even  the  Psalm  of  Moses  (90  :  15,  16)  teaches 
us  a  sublime  lesson  in  divine  compensation, 
"Make  us  glad  according  to  the  days  wherein 
thou  hast  afflicted  us."  An  inspired  prayer  is 
also  a  prophecy.  If  we  submit  cheerfully  to  him 
he  will  give  us  gladness  for  every  affliction  and 
evil  day,  and  even  so  great  a  sorrow  as  this  shall 
somehow  be  turned  into  joy. 

Professor  Chapell  has  suggested  a  most  appro- 
priate quotation  as  the  epitaph  of  this  holy  man  and 
witness  for  Christ  : 
''I  think  it  7neet,  as  lo7ig  as  I  am  in  this  taberftacie. 

To  stir  you  up  by  putting  you  in  re7neinbrance  ; 


Knowing  that  shortly  I  must  put  off  this  my  taber- 
Even  as  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ  hath  shelved  7ne. 
Moreover  I  will  e?tdeavour  that  ye  may  be  able 
After  my  decease 
To  have  these  things  always  in  remembt'atice. 
For  we  have  not  followed  cun7iingly  devised  fables^ 

When  we  jnade  known  imto  you 
The  power  and  coming  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ. ' '  i 

1  2  Peter i  :  13-16. 




OT    that    I    attach    any    importance    to 

dreams  or  ever  have  done  so.     Of  the 

hundreds    which    have    come    in    the 

night  season  I  cannot  remember  one  which  has 

proved  to   have  had   any  prophetic    significance 

either  for  good  or  ill.    As  a  rule  moreover,  dreams 

are  incongruous  rather  than  serious,  a  jumble  of 

impossible  conditions  in  which  persons  and  things 

utterly    remote    and    unconnected     are    brought 

together  in  a  single  scene.     But  the    one  which 

I  now  describe   was  unlike  any  other  within  my 

remembrance,    in    that    it    was    so    orderly    in  its 

movement,  so  consistent  in  its  parts,  and  so  fitly 

framed  together  as   a  whole.      I  recognize  it  only 

as  a  dream  ;  and  yet  I  confess  that  the  impression 

of  it  was  so  vivid  that  in  spite  of  myself  memory 

brings  it  back  to  me  again   and  again,  as  though 

it   were   an    actual    occurrence    in    my   personal 


And  yet  why  should  it  be  told  or  deliberately 

committed  to  print  ?     "I  will  come  to  visions  and 

revelations  of  the  Lord,"  says  the  apostle.      His 


28  HOW    CHRIST    CAME    TO    CHURCH 

was  undeniably  a  real,  divinely  given,  and  super- 
natural vision.  But  from  the  ecstasy  of  it, 
wherein  he  was  caught  up  into  paradise  and 
heard  unspeakable  words,  he  immediately  lets 
himself  down  to  the  common  level  of  discipleship. 
"Yet  of  myself  I  will  not  glory  but  in  my  infirm- 
ities." God  help  us  to  keep  to  this  good  con- 
fession evermore  ;  and  if  perchance  any  unusual 
lesson  is  taught  even  "in  visions  of  the  night 
when  deep  sleep  falleth  on  men  ' '  let  us  not  set 
ourselves  up  as  the  Lord's  favorites  to  whom  he 
has  granted  especial  court  privileges  in  the  king- 
dom of  heaven.  No,  the  dream  is  not  repeated 
as  though  it  were  a  credential  of  peculiar  saint- 
ship,  or  as  though  by  it  God  had  favored  me  with 
a  supernatural  revelation  ;  but  because  it  contains 
a  simple  and  obvious  lesson,  out  of  which  the 
entire  book  which  we  are  now  writing  has  been 

It  was  Saturday  night,  when  wearied  from  the 
work  of  preparing  Sunday's  sermon,  that  I  fell 
asleep  and  the  dream  came.  I  was  in  the  pulpit 
before  a  full  congregation,  just  ready  to  begin  my 
sermon,  when  a  stranger  entered  and  passed 
slowly  up  the  left  aisle  of  the  church  looking  first 
to  the  one  side  and  then  to  the  other  as  though 
silently  asking  with  his  eyes  that  some  one  would 
give  him  a  seat.  He  had  proceeded  nearly  half- 
way up  the  aisle  when  a  gentleman  stepped  out 
and   offered  him   a  place  in  his  pew,  which  was 

THE    DREAM  29 

quietly  accepted.  Excepting  the  face  and  features 
of  the  stranger  everything  in  the  scene  is  distinctly 
remembered — the  number  of  the  pew,  the  Chris- 
tian man  who  offered  its  hospitality,  the  exact  seat 
which  was  occupied.  Only  the  countenance  of 
the  visitor  could  never  be  recalled.  That  his  face 
wore  a  peculiarly  serious  look,  as  of  one  who  had 
known  some  great  sorrow,  is  clearly  impressed  on 
my  mind.  His  bearing  too  was  exceeding  humble, 
his  dress  poor  and  plain,  and  from  the  beginning 
to  the  end  of  the  service  he  gave  the  most  respect- 
ful attention  to  the  preacher.  Immediately  as  I 
began  my  sermon  my  attention  became  riveted  on 
this  hearer.  If  I  would  avert  my  eyes  from  him 
for  a  moment  they  would  instinctively  return  to 
him,  so  that  he  held  my  attention  rather  than  I 
held  his  till  the  discourse  was  ended. 

To  myself  I  said  constantly,  "Who  can  that 
stranger  be  ?  "  and  then  I  mentally  resolved  to 
find  out  by  going  to  him  and  making  his  acquaint- 
ance as  soon  as  the  service  should  be  over.  But 
after  the  benediction  had  been  given  the  departing 
congregation  filed  into  the  aisles  and  before  I 
could  reach  him  the  visitor  had  left  the  house. 
The  gentleman  with  whom  he  had  sat  remained 
behind  however  ;  and  approaching  him  with  great 
eagerness  I  asked  :  ' '  Can  you  tell  me  who  that 
stranger  was  who  sat  in  your  pew  this  morning  ? ' ' 
In  the  most  matter-of-course  way  he  replied : 
•'  Why,  do  you  not  know  that  man  ?    It  was  Jesus 


of  Nazareth."  With  a  sense  of  the  keenest  dis- 
appointment I  said:  "My  dear  sir,  why  did  you 
let  him  go  without  introducing  me  to  him  ?  I  was 
so  desirous  to  speak  with  him."  And  with  the 
same  nonchalant  air  the  gentleman  replied  :  ' '  Oh, 
do  not  be  troubled.  He  has  been  here  to-day, 
and  no  doubt  he  will  come  again." 

And  now  came  an  indescribable  rush  of  emo- 
tion. As  when  a  strong  current  is  suddenly 
checked,  the  stream  rolls  back  upon  itself  and  is 
choked  in  its  own  foam,  so  the  intense  curiosity 
which  had  been  going  out  toward  the  mysterious 
hearer  now  returned  upon  the  preacher  :  and  the 
Lord  himself  "  whose  I  am  and  whom  I  serve" 
had  been  listening  to  me  to-day.  What  was  I 
saying  ?  Was  I  preaching  on  some  popular  theme 
in  order  to  catch  the  ear  of  the  public  ?  Well, 
thank  God  it  was  of  himself  I  was  speaking. 
However  imperfectly  done,  it  was  Christ  and  him 
crucified  whom  I  was  holding  up  this  morning. 
But  in  what  spirit  did  I  preach  ?  Was  it  ' '  Christ 
crucified  preached  in  a  crucified  style  "  ?  or  did 
the  preacher  magnify  himself  while  exalting 
Christ  ?  So  anxious  and  painful  did  these  ques- 
tionings become  that  I  was  about  to  ask  the  brother 
with  whom  he  had  sat  if  the  Lord  had  said  any- 
thing to  him  concerning  the  sermon,  but  a  sense 
of  propriety  and  self-respect  at  once  checked  the 
suggestion.  Then  immediately  other  questions 
began  with  equal   vehemence  to  crowd  into  the 


mind.  "What  did  he  think  of  our  sanctuary,  its 
gothic  arches,  its  stained  windows,  its  costly  and 
powerful  organ  ?  How  was  he  impressed  with  the 
music  and  the  order  of  the  worship  ?  "  It  did  not 
seem  at  that  moment  as  though  I  could  ever  again 
care  or  have  the  smallest  curiosity  as  to  what  men 
might  say  of  preaching,  worship,  or  church,  if  I 
could  only  know  that  he  had  not  been  displeased, 
that  he  would  not  withhold  his  feet  from  coming 
again  because  he  had  been  grieved  at  what  he 
might  have  seen  or  heard. 

We  speak  of  "  a  momentous  occasion. ' '  This, 
though  in  sleep,  was  recognized  as  such  by  the 
dreamer — a  lifetime,  almost  an  eternity  of  interest 
crowded  into  a  single  solemn  moment.  One  present 
for  an  hour  who  could  tell  me  all  I  have  so  longed 
to  know  ;  who  could  point  out  to  me  the  imperfec- 
tions of  my  service  ;  who  could  reveal  to  me  my 
real  self,  to  whom,  perhaps,  I  am  most  a  stranger  ; 
who  could  correct  the  errors  in  our  worship  to 
which  long  usage  and  accepted  tradition  may  have 
rendered  us  insensible.  While  I  had  been  preach- 
ing for  a  half-hour  He  had  been  here  and  listening 
who  could  have  told  me  all  this  and  infinitely 
more — and  my  eyes  had  been  holden  that  I  knew 
him  not;  and  now  he  had  gone.  "Yet  a  little 
while  I  am  with  you  and  then  I  go  unto  him  that 
sent  me." 

One  thought,  however,  lingered  in  my  mind 
with  something  of  comfort  and  more  of  awe.    '  'He 


has  been  here  to-day,  ajid  no  doubt  he  will  come 
again  ' '  /  and  mentally  repeating  these  words  as 
one  regretfully  meditating  on  a  vanished  vision, 
"  I  awoke,  and  it  was  a  dream,"  No,  it  was  not 
a  dream.  It  was  a  vision  of  the  deepest  reality,  a 
miniature  of  an  actual  ministry,  verifying  the 
statement  often  repeated  that  sometimes  we  are 
most  awake  toward  God  when  we  are  asleep 
toward  the  world. 



ERE  to-day,  and  to  come  again."  In 
this  single  sentence  the  two  critical 
turning-points  of  an  extended  ministry 
are  marked.  It  is  not  what  we  have  but  what  we 
know  that  we  have  which  determines  our  material 
or  spiritual  wealth.  A  poor  farmer  owned  a  piece 
of  hard,  rocky  land  from  which,  at  the  price  of 
only  the  severest  toil,  he  was  able  to  support  his 
family.  He  died  and  bequeathed  his  farm  to  his 
eldest  son.  By  an  accident  the  son  discovered 
traces  of  gold  on  the  land  which,  being  explored, 
was  found  to  contain  mineral  wealth  of  immense 
value.  The  father  had  had  precisely  the  same 
property  which  the  son  now  possessed,  but  while 
the  one  lived  and  died  a  poor  man  the  other 
became  independently  rich.  And  yet  the  differ- 
ence between  the  two  depended  entirely  upon  the 
fact  that  the  son  knew  what  he  had,  and  the 
father  did  not  know.  ' '  Where  two  or  three  are 
gathered  in  my  name  there  a77t  I  in  the  midst  of 
them,'"  says  Christ. 

Then   the  dream    was  literally   true,   was   it? 

3  33 

V     i 


Yes.  If  this  promise  of  the  Son  of  God  means 
what  it  says,  Jesus  of  Nazareth  was  present  not 
only  on  that  Sunday  morning,  but  on  every  Sun- 
day morning  when  his  disciples  assemble  for  wor- 
ship. "Why,  then,  oh  preacher,  did  you  not  fix 
your  attention  on  him  from  the  first  day  you  stood 
up  in  the  congregation  as  his  witness,  asking  how 
you  might  please  him  before  once  raising  the  ques- 
tion how  you  might  please  the  people,  and  how  in 
your  ministry  you  might  have  his  help  above  the 
help  of  every  other  ?  Was  the  dream  which  cam.e 
to  you  in  the  transient  visions  of  the  night  more 
real  to  you  than  his  own  promise,  'Lo,  I  am  with] 
you  alway,'  which  is  given  in  that  word  which 
endureth  forever?"  Alas,  that  it  was  ever  so! 
It  is  not  what  we  know  but  what  we  know  that  we 
know  which  constitutes  our  spiritual  wealth.  I 
must  have  read  and  expounded  these  words  of 
Jesus  again  and  again  during  my  ministry,  but 
somehow  for  years  they  had  no  really  practical 
meaning  to  me.  Then  came  a  blessed  and  ever- 
to-be-remembered  crisis  in  my  spiritual  life  when 
from  a  deeper  insight  into  Scripture  the  doctrine 
of  the  Holy  Spirit  began  to  open  to  me.  Now  I 
apprehended  how  and  in  what  sense  Jesus  is  pres- 
ent :  not  in  some  figurative  or  even  potential  sense, 
but  literally  and  really  present  in  the  Holy  Spirit, 
his  invisible  self.  "And  I  will  pray  the  Father, 
■j  and  he  shall  give  you  another  Comforter,  that  he 
may  abide   with  you  for  ever''      (John  14  :  16). 

HERE    TO-DAY  35 

The  coming  of  this  other  Paraclete  was  con- 
ditioned on  the  departure  of  Jesus  :  "  If  I  go  I 
will  send  him  unto  you."  And  this  promise  was 
perfectly  fulfilled  on  Pentecost.  As  truly  as  Christ 
went  up,  the  Holy  Ghost  came  down  :  the  one 
took  his  place  at  the  Father's  right  hand  in 
heaven,  the  other  took  his  seat  in  the  church  on 
earth  which  is  ' '  builded  together  for  a  habitation 
of  God  in  the  Spirit. ' '  And  yet,  lest  by  this  dis- 
course about  his  going  and  the  Comforter's  com- 
ing we  should  be  led  to  think  that  it  is  not  Christ " 
who  is  with  us,  he  says,  clearly  referring  to  the 
Spirit  :  "I  will  not  leave  you  orphans  ;  /  will 
come  to  you.'"  Thus  it  is  made  plain  that  the 
Lord  himself  is  truly  though  invisibly  here  in  the 
midst  of  every  company  of  disciples  gathered  in 
any  place  in  his  name. 

If  Christ  came  to  church  and  sat  in  one  of  the 
pews,  what  then  ?  Would  not  the  minister  con- 
strain him  to  preach  to  the  people  and  allow  him- 
self to  be  a  listener  ?  If  he  were  to  dechne  and 
say:  "I  am  among  you  as  one  that  heareth," 
would  he  not  beg  him  at  least  to  give  the  congre- 
gation some  message  of  his  own  through  the  lips 
of  the  preacher  ?  If  an  offering  for  the  spread  of 
the  gospel  among  the  heathen  were  to  be  asked  on 
that  morning,  would  not  the  Master  be  besought 
to  make  the  plea  and  to  tell  the  people  how  he 
himself  "  though  rich,  for  our  sakes  became  poor 
that  we  through  his  poverty  might  be  rich  "  ?     If 


any  strife  existed  in  the  flock,  would  there  not  be 
an  earnest  appeal  to  him,  the  Good  Shepherd,  to 
guide  his  own  sheep  into  the  right  way  and  to 
preserve  the  fold  in  peace  ? 

Ah,  yes.  And  Christ  did  come  to  church  and 
abode  there,  but  we  knew  it  not,  and  therefore 
we  took  all  the  burden  of  teaching  and  collecting 
and  governing  on  ourselves  till  we  were  often 
wearied  with  a  load  too  heavy  for  us  to  bear. 
Well  do  we  remember  those  days  when  drudgery 
was  pushed  to  the  point  of  desperation.  The 
hearers  must  be  moved  to  repentance  and  confes- 
sion of  Christ  ;  therefore  more  effort  must  be 
devoted  to  the  sermon,  more  hours  to  elaborating 
its  periods,  more  pungency  put  into  its  sentences, 
more  study  bestowed  on  its  delivery.  And  then 
came  the  disappointment  that  few,  if  any  were 
converted  by  all  this  which  had  cost  a  week  of 
solid  toil.  And  now  attention  was  turned  to  the 
prayer  meeting  as  the  possible  seat  of  the  difficulty 
— so  few  attending  it  and  so  little  readiness  to  par- 
ticipate in  its  services.  A  pulpit  scourging  must 
be  laid  on  next  Sunday,  and  the  sharpest  sting 
which  words  can  effect  put  into  the  lash.  Alas, 
there  is  no  increase  in  the  attendance,  and  instead 
of  spontaneity  in  prayer  and  witnessing  there  is  a 
silence  which  seems  almost  like  sullenness  !  Then 
the  administration  goes  wrong  and  opposition  is 
encountered  among  officials,  so  that  caucusing 
must  be  undertaken  to  get  the  members  to  vote  as 

HERE   TO-DAY  37 

they  should.  Thus  the  burdens  of  anxiety  increase 
while  we  are  trying  to  lighten  them,  and  should-be 
helpers  become  hinderers,  till  discouragement 
comes  and  sleepless  nights  ensue  ;  these  hot 
boxes  on  the  train  of  our  activities  necessitating 
a  stop  and  a  visit  of  the  doctor,  with  the  verdict 
over-work  and  the  remedy  absolute  rest. 

It  was  after  much  of  all  this  of  which  even  the 
most  intimate  friends  knew  nothing,  that  there 
came  one  day  a  still  voice  of  admonition,  saying, 
' '  There  standeth  one  among  you  whom  ye  know 
not.''  And  perhaps  I  answered,  "Who  is  he. 
Lord,  that  I  might  know  him?"  I  had  known 
the  Holy  Ghost  as  a  heavenly  influence  to  be 
invoked,  but  somehow  I  had  not  grasped  the 
truth  that  he  is  a  Person  of  the  Godhead  who 
came  down  to  earth  at  a  definite  time  and  who  has 
been  in  the  church  ever  since,  just  as  really  as 
Jesus  was  here  during  the  thirty  and  three  years 
of  his  earthly  life. 

Precisely  here  was  the  defect.  For  it  may  be  a 
question  whose  loss  is  the  greater,  his  who  thinks 
that  Christ  is  present  with  him  when  he  is  not,  or 
his  who  thinks  not  that  Christ  is  present  with  him 
when  he  is  ?  Recall  the  story  of  the  missing  child 
Jesus  and  how  it  is  said  that  "  they  supposing  him 
to  be  in  the  company  went  forward  a  day's  jour- 
ney." Alas,  of  how  many  nominal  Christians  is 
this  true  to-day  !  They  journey  on  for  years,  say- 
ing prayers,  reciting  creeds,  pronouncing  confes- 

38  HOW    CHRIST    CAME    TO    CHURCH 

sions,  giving  alms,  and  doing  duties,  imagining 
all  the  time  that  because  of  these  things  Christ  is 
with  them.  Happy  are  they  if  their  mistake  is 
not  discovered  too  late  for  them  to  retrace  their 
steps  and  to  find,  through  personal  regeneration, 
the  renewed  heart  which  constitutes  the  absolute 
essential  to  companionship  with  the  Son  of  God. 

On  the  other  hand,  how  many  true  Christians 
toil  on,  bearing  burdens  and  assuming  responsi- 
bilities far  too  great  for  their  natural  strength, 
utterly  forgetful  that  the  mighty  Burden-bearer  of  , 
the  world  is  with  them  to  do  for  them  and  through 
them  that  which  they  have  undertaken  to  accom- 
plish alone  !  Happy  also  for  these  if  some  weary 
day  the  blessed  Paraclete,  the  invisible  Christ, 
shall  say  to  them,  '  'Have  I  been  so  long  time  with 
you  and  yet  hast  thou  7iot  known  me  f '  So  it 
happened  to  the  writer.  The  strong  Son  of  God 
revealed  himself  as  being  evermore  in  his  church, 
and  I  knew  him,  not  through  a  sudden  burst  of 
revelation,  not  through  some  thrilling  experience 
of  instantaneous  sanctification,  but  by  a  quiet, 
sure,  and  steady  discovery,  increasing  unto  more 
and  more.  Jesus  in  the  Spirit  stood  with  me  in  a 
kind  of  spiritual  epiphany  and  just  as  definitely 
and  irrevocably  as  I  once  took  Christ  crucified  as 
my  sin-bearer  I  now  took  the  Holy  Spirit  for  my 

"  Then  you  received  the  baptism  of  the  Holy 
Spirit  did  you?"   some  one  will  ask.     Well,  we 

HERE    TO-DAY  39 

prefer  not  to  use  an  expression  which  is  not  strictly 
bibhcal.  The  great  promise,  "  Ye  shall  be  baptized 
in  the  Holy  Ghost"  was  fulfilled  on  the  day  of 
Pentecost  once  for  all,  as  it  seems  to  us.  Then 
the  Paraclete  was  given  for  the  entire  dispensation, 
and  the  whole  church  present  and  future  was 
brought  into  the  economy  of  the  Spirit,  as  it  is 
written  :  "  For  in  one  Spirit  were  we  all  baptized  ) 
into  one  body  "  (i  Cor.  12  :  13,  R.  V.).  But  for  > 
God  to  give  is  one  thing  ;  for  us  to  receive  is  quite 
another.  "God  so  loved  that  he  gave  his  only \ 
begotten  Son,"  is  the  word  of  our  Lord  to  Nico- 
demus.  But  it  is  written  also  :  "As  many  as 
received  him  to  them  gave  he  power  to  become 
the  sons  of  God."  In  order  to  regeneration  and 
sonship  it  is  as  absolutely  essential  for  us  to 
receive  as  for  God  to  have  given.  So  on  the  day 
of  Pentecost  the  Holy  Spirit,  as  the  Comforter, 
Advocate,  Helper,  and  Teacher  and  Guide,  was 
given  to  the  church.  The  disciples  who  before 
had  been  regenerated  by  the  Spirit,  as  is  commonly 
held,  now  received  the  Holy  Ghost  to  qualify  and 
empower  them  for  service.  It  was  another  and 
higher  experience  than  that  which  they  had 
hitherto  known.  It  is  the  difference  between  the 
Holy  Spirit  for  renewal  and  the  Holy  Spirit  for 
ministry.  Even  Jesus,  begotten  by  the  Holy 
Ghost  and  therefore  called  ' '  the  Son  of  God, 
did  not  enter  upon  his  public  service  till  he  had 
been  "anointed,"   or  "sealed,"  vnth  that  same 


Spirit  through  whom  he  had  been  begotten.  So 
of  his  immediate  apostles  ;  so  of  Paul,  who  had 
been  converted  on  the  way  to  Damascus.  So  of 
the  others  mentioned  in  the  Acts,  as  the  Samaritan 
Christians  and  the  Ephesian  disciples  (19  :  1-8). 
And  not  a  few  thoughtful  students  of  Scripture 
maintain  that  the  same  order  still  holds  good  ; 
that  there  is  such  a  thing  as  receiving  the  Holy 
Ghost  in  order  to  qualification  for  service.  It  is 
not  denied  that  many  may  have  this  blessing  in 
immediate  connection  with  their  conversion,  from 
which  it  need  not  necessarily  be  separated.  Only 
let  it  be  marked  that  as  the  giving  of  the  Spirit  by 
the  Father  is  plainly  spoken  of,  so  distinctly  is  the 
receiving  of  the  Spirit  on  the  part  of  the  disciples 
constantly  named  in  Scripture.  When  the  risen 
Christ  breathed  on  his  disciples  and  said  : 
"  Receive  ye  the  Holy  Ghost,"  it  is  an  active  not 
a  passive  reception  which  is  pointed  out,  as  in  the 
invitation:  "Whosoever  will,  let  him  take  the 
water  of  life  freely."  Here  the  same  word  is 
used  as  also  in  the  Epistle  to  the  Galatians. 
' '  Received  ye  the  Spirit  by  the  works  of  the  law, 
or  by  the  hearing  of  faith  ?  "    (3:2). 

God  forbid  that  we  should  lay  claim  to  any 
higher  attainment  than  the  humblest.  We  are 
simply  trying  to  answer,  as  best  we  may  from 
Scripture,  the  question  asked  above  about  the  bap- 
tism of  the  Holy  Ghost.  On  the  whole,  and  after 
prolonged  study  of  the  Scripture,  we  cannot  resist 


this  conviction  :  As  Christ,  the  second  person  of 
the  Godhead,  came  to  earth  to  make  atonement 
for  sin  and  to  give  eternal  hfe,  and  as  sinners  we 
must  receive  him  by  faith  in  order  to  forgiveness 
and  sonship,  so  the  Holy  Spirit,  the  third  person 
of  the  Godhead,  came  to  the  earth  to  communi- 
cate the  "power  from  on  high"  ;  and  we 
must  as  believers  in  like  manner  receive  him  by 
faith  in  order  to  be  qualified  for  service.  Both 
gifts  have  been  bestowed,  but  it  is  not  what  we 
have  but  what  we  know  that  we  hav^e  by  a  con- 
scious appropriating  faith,  which  determines  our 
spiritual  wealth.  Why  then  should  we  be  satisfied 
with  "the  forgiveness  of  sins,  according  to  the 
riches  of  his  grace  "  (Eph.  i  :  7),  when  the  Lord 
would  grant  us  also  "according  to  the  riches  of 
his  glory,  to  be  strenghened  with  might  by  his 
Spirit  in  the  inner  man  "  ?  (Eph.  3  :    16.) 

To  return  to  personal  experience.  I  am  glad 
that  one  of  the  most  conservative  as  well  as  emi- 
nent theological  professors  of  our  times,  has  put 
this  matter  exactly  as  I  should  desire  to  see  it 
stated.  He  says:  "  If  a  reference  to  personal 
experience  may  be  permitted,  I  may  indeed  here 
set  my  seal.  Never  shall  I  forget  the  gain  to  con- 
scious faith  and  peace  which  came  to  my  own  soul 
not  long  after  the  first  decisive  and  appropriating 
view  of  the  crucified  Lord  as  the  sinner's  sacrifice 
of  peace,  from  a  more  intelligent  and  conscious 
hold  upon  the  living  and  most  gracious  personality 


of  the  Holy  Spirit  through  whose  mercy  the  soul 
had  got  that  view.  It  was  a  new  development  of 
insight  into  the  love  of  God.  It  was  a  new  con- 
tact, as  it  were,  with  the  inner  and  eternal  move- 
ments of  redeeming  love  and  power,  and  a  new 
discovery  in  divine  resources.  At  such  a  time  of 
finding  gratitude  and  love  and  adoration  we  gain 
a  new,  a  newly  realized  reason  and  motive  power 
and  rest."  ^ 

"  A  conscious  hold  upon  the  personality  of  the 
Holy  Spirit ;  "  "a  newly  realized  motive  power." 
Such  it  was  ;  not  the  sending  down  of  some  new 
power  from  heaven  in  answer  to  long  waiting  and 
prayer,  but  an  "articulating  into"  a  power 
already  here,  but  hitherto  imperfectly  known  and 
appropriated.  Just  in  front  of  the  study  window 
where  I  write  is  a  street,  above  which  it  is  said 
that  a  powerful  electric  current  is  constantly  mov- 
ing. I  cannot  see  that  current :  it  does  not 
report  itself  to  hearing,  or  sight,  or  taste,  or  smell, 
and  so  far  as  the  testimony  of  the  senses  is  to  be 
taken,  I  might  reasonably  discredit  its  existence. 
But  I  see  a  slender  arm,  called  the  trolley,  reach- 
ing up  and  touching  it  ;  and  immediately  the  car 
with  its  heavy  load  of  passengers  moves  along  the 
track  as  though  seized  in  the  grasp  of  some  mighty 
giant.  The  power  had  been  there  before,  only 
now  the  car  lays  hold  of  it  or  is  rather  laid  hold 

1  Principal   H.  C.   G.   Moule,   Ridley   Hall,  Cambridge,  Eng., 
"Veni  Creator  Spiritus,"  p.  13. 

HERE   TO-DAY  43 

of  by  it,  since  it  was  a  touch,  not  a  grip,  through 
which  the  motion  was  communicated.  And  would 
it  be  presumptuous  for  one  to  say  that  he  had 
known  something  of  a  similar  contact  with  not 
merely  a  divine  force  but  a  divine  person  ?  The 
change  which  ensued  may  be  described  thus  : 
Instead  of  praying  constantly  for  the  descent  of  a 
divine  influence  there  was  now  a  surrender,  how- 
ever imperfect,  to  a  divine  and  ever-present 
Being  :  instead  of  a  constant  effort  to  make  use  of 
the  Holy  Spirit  for  doing  my  work  there  arose  a 
clear  and  abiding  conviction  that  the  true  secret 
of  service  lay  in  so  yielding  to  the  Holy  Spirit  that 
he  might  use  me  to  do  his  work.  Would  that  the 
ideal  might  be  so  perfectly  realized  that  over  what- 
ever remains  of  an  earthly  ministry,  be  it  shorter 
or  longer,  might  be  written  the  slightly  changed 
motto  of  Adolphe  Monod  : 

'  'All  through  Christ :  i7i  the  Holy  Spirit :  for 
the  glory  of  God.     All  else  is  nothing. ' ' 



HE  apprehension  of  the  doctrine  of 
Christ's  second  advent  came  eariier 
than  the  realization  of  the  other  doc- 
trine, that  of  his  abiding  presence  in  the  church 
in  the  Holy  Spirit.  But  its  discovery  constituted 
a  no  less  distinct  crisis  in  my  ministry.  "This 
same  Jesus,  which  is  taken  up  from  you  into 
heaven,  shall  so  come  in  like  manner  as  ye  have 
seen  hitn go  into  heaven,''  is  the  parting  promise 
of  Jesus  to  his  disciples,  communicated  through 
the  two  men  in  white  apparel,  as  a  cloud  received 
him  out  of  their  sight.  When  after  more  than 
fifty  years  in  glory  he  breaks  the  silence  and 
speaks  once  more  in  the  Revelation  which  he 
gave  to  his  servant  John,  the  post-ascension 
Gospel  which  he  sends  opens  with,  ''Behold,  he 
Cometh  with  clouds, ' '  and  closes  with  '  'Surely  I 
come  quickly. ''  Considering  the  solemn  emphasis 
thus  laid  upon  this  doctrine,  and  considering  the 
great  prominence  given  to  it  throughout  the  teach- 
ing of  our  Lord  and  of  his  apostles,  how  was  it 
that  for  the  first  five  years  of  my  pastoral  life  it 

AND   TO    COME    AGAIN  45 

had  absolutely  no  place  in  my  preaching  ? 
Undoubtedly  the  reason  lay  in  the  lack  of  early 
instruction.  Of  all  the  sermons  heard  from  child- 
hood on,  I  do  not  remember  Hstening  to  a  single 
one  upon  this  subject.  In  the  theological  course, 
while  this  truth  had  its  place  indeed,  it  was  taught 
as  in  most  theological  seminaries  of  this  country, 
according  to  the  post-millennial  interpretation  ; 
and  with  the  most  reverent  respect  for  the  teachers 
holding  this  view  I  must  express  my  mature  con- 
viction that,  though  the  doctrine  of  our  Lord's 
second  coming  is  not  ignored  in  this  system,  it  is 
placed  in  such  a  setting  as  to  render  it  quite 
impractical  as  a  theme  for  preaching  and  quite 
inoperative  as  a  motive  for  Christian  living.  For 
if  a  millennium  must  intervene  before  the  return 
of  our  Lord  from  heaven,  or  if  the  world's  con- 
version must  be  accomplished  before  he  shall 
come  in  his  glory,  how  is  it  possible  for  his  dis- 
ciples in  this  present  time  to  obey  his  words  : 
' '  Watch,  therefore,  for  ye  know  not  what  hour 
your  Lord  shall  come  ' '  ? 

I  well  remember  in  my  early  ministry  hearing 
two  humble  and  consecrated  laymen  speaking  of 
this  hope  in  the  meetings  of  the  church,  and  urg- 
ing it  upon  Christians  as  the  ground  of  unworld- 
liness  and  watchfulness  of  life.  Discussion  fol- 
lowed with  these  good  brethren,  and  then  a  search- 
ing of  the  Scriptures  to  see  if  these  things  were 
so  ;    and  then  a  conviction    of  their  truth  :    and 


then  ?  The  godly  Wilham  Hevvitson  declares  that 
the  discovery  of  the  scriptural  hope  of  our  Lord' s 
second  coming  wrought  in  him  a  change  amount- 
ing almost  to  a  second  conversion.  What  if 
another,  not  presuming  to  be  named  in  company 
with  this  consecrated  saint,  should  nevertheless 
set  his  hand  and  seal  to  the  affirmation  that  the 
strongest  and  most  permanent  impulse  of  his  min- 
istry came  from  his  apprehension  of  the  blessed 
hope  of  our  Lord's  second  coming  ? 

But  how  is  it  that  this  doctrine,  so  plainly  and 
conspicuously  written  in  Scripture,  could  have 
remained  so  long  undiscovered  ?  In  answering 
this  question  we  see  how  little  ground  we  have  for 
glorying  over  the  Jews.  They  did  not  recognize 
Christ  in  his  first  advent  because  they  discerned  in 
Scripture  only  those  predictions  which  announced 
him  as  a  reigning  and  conquering  Messiah.  This 
conception  they  wove  into  a  veil  of  exposition  and 
tradition  so  thick  that  when  Jesus  appeared  as  the 
lowly  and  humble  Nazarene  they  knew  him  not, 
but  "  hid  as  it  were  their  faces  from  him."  And 
this  strong  prepossession  still  obscures  their  vision 
so  that  "even  unto  this  day  when  Moses  is  read 
the  veil  is  upon  their  heart. 

With  the  larger  mass  of  Gentile  Christians  the 
case  is  just  the  reverse.  They  know  Christ  cruci- 
fied, and  beheving  that  the  Cross  is  to  conquer  the 
world  and  that  the  preaching  of  the  gospel  in  the 
present  dispensation  is  to  bring  all  men  to  God, 

AND    TO    COME    AGAIN  47 

they  see  no  need  of  the  personal  coming-  of  the 
Christ  as  king  to  subdue  all  things  under  his  feet 
and  to  reign  visibly  on  the  earth.  This  concep- 
tion in  turn  has  been  woven  into  an  elaborate 
veil  of  tradition  for  Gentile  believers  and  "  until 
this  day,  remaineth  the  same  veil  untaken  away 
in  the  reading  of  the  New  Testament. 

It  was  not  so  in  the  beginning.  For  three 
hundred  years  the  church  occupied  the  position 
of  a  bride  awaiting  the  return  of  the  bridegroom 
from  heaven — she,  meantime,  holding  herself  free 
from  all  alliance  with  this  world,  content  to  fulfill 
her  calling  in  witnessing  for  Christ,  in  suffering 
with  Christ,  and  so  to  accomphsh  her  appointed 
work  of  the  gathering  out  of  the  elect  body  for  the 
Lord  "until  he  come."  A  strange  and  almost 
grotesque  conception  to  many  modern  Christians 
no  doubt.  But  it  was  while  maintaining  this  atti- 
tude that  the  church  moved  on  most  rapidly  and 
irresistibly  in  her  missionary  conquests. 

Then  came  the  foreshado wings  of  the  great 
apostasy.  The  world  which  had  been  a  foe  to 
the  church  became  her  friend  and  patron  ;  Con- 
stantine,  the  emperor  of  Rome,  became  her  head, 
and  thus  the  eyes  of  Christians  began  to  be  with- 
drawn from  him  who  is  "  Head  over  all  things  to 
his  church."  The  great  and  good  Augustine 
yielded  to  the  seduction  and  was  among  the  first 
to  teach  that  in  the  temporal  triumph  of  Christi- 
anity the  kingdom  had  already  come,  though  the 

48  HOW    CHRIST    CAME    TO    CHURCH 

King  with  whose  return  the  primitive  church  had 
been  wont  to  identify  the  appearing  of  the  king- 
dom was  still  absent.  Little  by  little,  as  the 
apostasy  deepened,  this  early  hope  of  Christians 
became  eclipsed  till,  in  the  words  of  Auberlin, 
"  when  the  church  became  a  harlot  she  ceased  to 
be  a  bride  who  goes  forth  to  meet  her  Bride- 
groom," and  thus  chiliasm  disappeared.  What 
moreover  would  have  been  deemed  an  apostasy  in 
the  primitive  church  grew  into  a  tradition  and  a 
creed  in  the  post-Nicene  church,  which  creed  until 
this  day  largely  rules  the  faith  of  Christians. 

Within  fifty  years,  however,  there  has  been  a 
widespread  revival  of  the  early  teaching  on  this 
point,  especially  among  the  most  eminent  evan- 
gelists and  missionary  promoters,  until  to-day  in  a 
great  company  of  devout  Christians,  the  uplifted 
gaze  is  once  more  visible,  and  the  advent  cry 
"Even  so  come.  Lord  Jesus,"  is  once  more 

"But  tell  me,"  we  hear  some  one  saying, 
"how  it  is  that  this  doctrine  can  have  such  an 
inspiring  and  uplifting  influence  as  you  claim  for 
it?"  We  answer,  in  more  ways  than  can  be 
described  in  a  single  chapter. 

"  The  doctrine  of  the  Lord's  second  coming  as 
it  appears  in  the  New  Testament,"  says  an  emi- 
nent Scotch  preacher,  ' '  is  like  a  lofty  mountain 
which  dominates  the  entire  landscape."  An 
admirable  illustration  !     For  in   such  a  case,   no 

AND    TO    COME    AGAIN  49 

matter  what  road  you  take,  no  matter  what  pass 
you  tread,  you  will  find  the  mountain  bursting  on 
your  vision  at  every  turn  of  the  way  and  at  every 
parting  of  the  hills.  What  first  struck  me  now,  in 
reading  the  New  Testament,  was  something  like 
this  :  Whatever  doctrine  I  was  pursuing,  whatever 
precept  I  was  enforcing,  I  found  it  fronting  toward 
and  terminating  in  the  hope  of  the  Lord's  second 
coming.  Is  watchfulness  amid  the  allurements  of 
the  world  enjoined,  the  exhortation  is:  "Watch 
therefore  ;  for  ye  kiiozv  not  what  hour  your  Lord 
doth  come''  (Matt.  24:  42).  Is  patience  under 
trial  and  injustice  counseled  ?  The  word  is  :  "Be 
patient  therefore,  brethren,  imto  the  coming  of  the 
Lord''  (James  5  :  7).  Is  an  ideal  church  pre- 
sented concerning  whose  deportment  the  apostle 
"  needs  not  to  speak  anything  "  ?  Its  commenda- 
tion is  :  "Ye  turned  to  God  from  idols  to  serve 
the  living  and  true  God  ;  and  to  wait  for  his  Son 
from  heaven"  (i  Thess.  i  :  9,  10).  Is  holy  living- 
urged  ?  This  is  the  inspiring  motive  thereto  : 
"That,  denying  ungodliness  and  worldly  lusts, 
we  should  live  soberly,  righteously,  and  godly,  in 
this  present  world  ;  looking  for  that  blessed  hope, 
and  the  glorious  appearing  of  the  great  God  and 
our  Saviour  Jesus  Christ"  (Titus  2  :  12,  13).  All 
paths  of  obedience  and  service  lead  onward  to  the 
mountain.  Our  command  to  service  bids  us 
"Occupy  till  I  come"  (Luke  19  :  13).  In  observ- 
ing the  Lord's  Supper  we  "  shew  the  Lord's  death 

50  HOW    CHRIST    CAME    TO    CHURCH 

////  he  come'"  (i  Cor.  ii  :  26).  In  the  injunction 
to  fidelity  the  word  is  that  we  "keep  this  com- 
mandment without  spot,  unrebukable,  until  the 
appearing  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ  "  (i  Tim.  6  : 
14).  Let  any  candid  reader  collate  the  texts  in 
the  New  Testament  on  this  subject,  and  he  will 
see  that  our  statement  as  to  the  pre-eminence  of 
this  doctrine  is  not  exaggerated. 

To  pursue  the  figure  farther.  As  all  the  roads 
lead  toward  the  mountain,  so  conversely  the 
mountain  looks  out  upon  all  the  roads.  Take 
your  stand  in  the  doctrine  of  the  Lord's  coming 
and  make  it  your  point  of  observation  for  viewing 
Scripture,  and  your  map  of  redemption  will  very 
soon  take  shape,  and  the  relation  of  part  to  part 
will  become  apparent.  Just  as  Christ  crucified 
is  the  center  of  soteriology,  so  Christ  coming  again 
is  the  center  of  eschatology.  Place  the  Saviour 
Avhere  the  Scriptures  place  him,  on  the  cross — 
"  who  his  own  self  bare  our  sins  in  his  own  body 
on  the  tree  " — and  all  the  teachings  of  the  cere- 
monial law  become  intelligible,  and  its  types  and 
offerings  fit  together  into  one  harmonious  system. 
God  forbid  that  we  should  by  a  grain's  weight 
lesson  the  emphasis  upon  Christ  crucified.  This 
is  the  central  fact  of  redemption  accomplished. 
Even  so  put  Christ  coming  into  his  scriptural  place 
and  all  the  prophecies  and  Messianic  hopes  of  the 
Old  Testament  and  the  New  become  intelligible — 
the  establishment  of  the  kingdom,  the  restoration 

AND   TO    COME    AGAIN  5 1 

of  Israel,  the  renewing  of  all  things.  These  two 
centers — Christ  crucified  and  Christ  coming — 
must  be  rigidly  maintained  if  all  the  Bible  is  to  be 
utiHzed  and  all  its  teachings  harmonized. 

So  the  writer  bears  joyful  testimony  that  the 
discovery  of  this  primitive  doctrine  of  the  gospel, 
the  personal  pre-millennial  coming  of  Christ,  con- 
stituted a  new  era  in  his  study  of  the  word  of  God, 
and  gave  an  opening-out  into  vistas  of  truth 
hitherto  undreamed  of.  And  moreover,  apart 
from  the  question  of  eschatology,  it  was  the  means 
af  the  deepest  and  firmest  anchoring  in  all  the 
doctrines  of  the  evangelical  faith.  Why  should 
not  this  be  the  case  ?  If  it  is  true,  as  one  has 
said,  that  "  when  the  smallest  doctrine  in  the  body 
of  truth  is  mutilated  it  is  sure  to  avenge  itself 
upon  the  whole  system,"  why  should  it  not  be  even 
more  certainly  the  case,  that  one  of  the  mountain 
truths  of  Scripture  being  recognized,  all  neighbor- 
ing doctrines  should  be  lifted  into  distincter  prom- 
inence around  its  base  ?  At  all  events,  I  confess 
myself  so  indebted  to  this  hope  in  every  way,  that 
I  cannot  measure  the  loss  it  would  have  been  to 
have  passed  through  a  ministry  of  twenty-five  years 
without  knowledge  of  it. 

And  as  to  the  relation  of  this  truth  to  Christian 
life  :  Is  not  an  unworldly  and  single-eyed  ministry 
the  supreme  need  in  these  days  of  a  materialized 
civilization  and  a  secularized  church  ?  And  where 
shall  the  most  powerful  motive  to  such  a  ministry 

52  HOW    CHRIST    CAME    TO    CHURCH 

be  found  ?  No  one  who  reads  the  New  Testament 
carefidly  can  deny  that  our  Lord  has  lodged  it  in 
the  hope  of  his  second  coming.  We  may  not  see 
how  the  doctrine  should  have  that  effect  ;  but  if  he 
has  so  ordained,  it  will  certainly  be  found  true  in 
actual  experience.  I  recall  a  lecture  which  I  heard 
some  years  since  from  a  scholarly  preacher  in 
which  he  aimed  to  show  that  Christ's  second  com- 
ing so  far  from  being  personal  and  literal  is  a  spir- 
itual and  perpetual  fact  ;  that  he  is  coming  all  the 
time  in  civilization,  in  the  diffusion  of  Christianity, 
and  in  the  march  of  human  progress.  He  closed 
his  argument  by  questioning  seriously  what  prac- 
tical influence  upon  Christian  life  the  anticipation 
of  an  event  so  mysterious  and  so  uncertain  as  to 
time  and  circumstance  can  have.  Being  asked  to 
speak,  1  related  a  Httle  household  incident  which 
had  recently  occurred.  Having  gone  into  the 
country  with  my  children  for  a  few  weeks'  vaca- 
tion, I  had  planned  with  them  many  pleasant 
diversions  and  engagements  for  the  holidays,  when 
almost  upon  my  arrival  I  was  summoned  back  to 
the  city  on  an  important  mission.  In  the  disap- 
pointment of  the  children  I  said  to  them  ;  "  Chil- 
dren, I  am  going  to  the  city  to-day.  But  I  shall 
soon  be  back  again.  I  may  come  to-morrow,  or 
the  next  day,  or  the  day  after,  or  possibly  not  till 
the  end  of  the  week,  but  you  may  expect  me  any 
time."  It  so  happened  that  I  was  detained  until 
Saturday.     But  when  I  returned  I  learned  that  in 

AND    TO    COME    AGAIxV  53 

their  eagerness  to  welcome  me  back  the  children, 
contrary  to  their  natural  instincts,  had  insisted  on 
having  their  faces  washed  every  day  and  upon 
having  on  their  clean  clothes  and  going  down  to 
meet  me  at  train  time.  "A  good  stoiy," 
exclaimed  the  lecturer,  "but  it  is  not  an  argu- 
ment." Ah,  but  is  it  not?  Human  life  is  often 
found  to  be  the  best  expositor  of  Scripture.  He 
who  put  his  sublimest  doctrines  into  parables 
drawn  from  common  experience  can  often  be  best 
understood  through  some  homely  household  inci- 
dent. He  would  have  his  servants  always  washed, 
and  clothed  in  white  raiment  during  his  absence. 
If  we  believe  that  he  will  not  return  till  hundreds 
of  years  have  elapsed,  we  may  reasonably  delay 
our  purification  and  make  no  haste  to  put  on  our 
white  raiment.  But  what  if  his  coming  is  ever 
imminent  ?  Let  this  truth  be  deeply  realized  and 
let  the  parables  in  which  he  affirms  it  become 
household  words  to  us,  and  who  shall  say  that  it 
will  be  without  effect  ?  One  at  least  may  with  all 
humility  testify  to  its  influence  in  shaping  his  min- 
istry. Without  imparting  any  sombre  hue  to  Chris- 
tian life  ;  without  "  replacing  glory  with  gloom  ' '  in 
the  heart  which  should  rejoice  evermore,  it  is 
enough  to  say  that  when  ' '  the  solemn  MaraiiatJia 
resounds  constantly  through  the  soul,  the  most 
powerful  impulse  is  awakened  toward  our  doing  with 
all  diligence  what  he  would  have  us  do,  and  our 
being  with  all  the  heart  what  he  would  have  us  be. 


"  Then  your  dream  came  true,  did  it  ?"  No  ; 
rather  it  had  been  true  before  it  was  dreamed,  and 
the  vision  was  a  kind  of  resume  of  a  quarter-cen- 
tury ministry.  Here  now  in  the  Holy  Spirit  and 
to  come  again  in  person  !  These  were  two  discov- 
eries which,  added  to  the  fundamental  truths 
already  realized,  brought  unspeakable  blessing 
into  one  Christian  experience.  We  reiterate 
emphatically  that  that  night-vision  has  never  been 
regarded  as  anything  supernatural  or  extraordi- 
nary in  itself.  Nevertheless  there  it  stands  to-day 
in  the  hall  of  memory,  a  dream-parable  as  clean- 
cut  and  distinctly  outlined  as  a  marble  statue, 
with  the  legend  inwrought  in  it,  ''Hereto-day  and 
to  come  to-morroiu,''  so  that  in  spite  of  knowledge 
to  the  contrary  it  comes  back  again  and  again  as 
an  occurrence  of  actual  history.  Call  it  a  dream 
of  mysticism  ?  What  if  rather  it  might  be  named 
a  vision  of  primitivism  ?  The  most  eminent  living 
master  of  ecclesiastical  history,  Harnack,  photo- 
graphing in  a  single  sentence  the  church  of  the 
earliest  centuries,  says  :  "  Originally  the  church 
was  the  heavenly  Bride  of  Christ,  the  abiding 
place  of  the  Holy  Spirit.'"  Does  the  reader  not 
see  that  here  is  the  same  twofold  conception — 
Christ  in-resident  in  the  church  by  the  Spirit  ;  and 
Christ  expected  to  return  in  person  as  the  Bride- 
groom for  his  bride  ?  This  was  the  church  which 
moved  with  such  rapid  and  triumphant  progress 
against     ancient   heathenism.     With     no    power 

AND   TO   COME   AGAIN  55 

except  "the  irresistible  might  of  weakness"; 
with  no  wealth  except  the  riches  of  glory  inherited 
through  her  heavenly  citizenship  ;  refusing  all 
compromise  with  the  world,  declining  all  patron- 
age of  kings  and  emperors,  she  nevertheless  went 
forth  conquering  and  to  conquer,  till  in  a  few 
years  she  had  undermined  the  whole  colossal  fabric 
of  paganism.  And  might  not  the  church  of  Christ 
do  the  same  to-day  if  she  were  to  return  to  this 
primitive  ideal  ?  and  if  renouncing  her  dependence 
on  human  resources — wealth  and  power  and 
social  prestige,  she  were  to  inscribe  upon  her 
banner  that  ancient  motto  :  ' '  Not  by  might  nor 
by  power,  but  by  my  Spirit,  saith  the  Lord." 
Such  is  the  train  of  questioning  started  by  a  dream. 


IF    I    HAD    NOT    COME 

[O  see  Christ  is  to  see  ourselves  by  start- 
ling contrast.  The  religious  leaders  of 
our  Saviour's  day  were  sinners  before 
they  knew  him,  but  their  sin  was  not  manifested. 
"  If  I  had  not  come  and  spoken  unto  them  they 
had  not  had  sin,"  said  Jesus,  "but  now  they 
have  no  cloak  for  their  sin."  The  Son  of  God  is 
Christies  Revelator  before  he  is  Christus  Salvator. 
No  truer  testimony  to  the  Messiahship  was  ever 
uttered  than  that  of  the  Samaritan  woman  : 
"  Come  and  see  a  man  that  told  me  all  things 
that  ever  I  did.      Is  not  this  the  Christ  ?  " 

If  Christ  came  to  church  it  were  a  sacred 
privilege  to  entertain  him  ;  and  evermore  the 
aisles  which  he  had  trodden  would  be  counted 
holy  ground.  But  are  we  ready  for  the  revelations 
which  his  coming  is  sure  to  bring  ?  His  glory 
would  certainly  manifest  our  guilt.  Ah,  yes  ! 
And  his  lowly  garb  would  also  rebuke  our  costly 
attire,  and  his  deep  humility  would  shame  the 
diamonds  on  jeweled  Christian  fingers.  Does 
the  reader  remember  how,  in  the  dream,  I  saw 

IF    I    HAD    NOT   COME  57 

him  looking  first  to  the  one  side  and  then  to  the 
other,  as  he  walked  up  the  aisle  on  that  Sunday 
morning,  as  though  silently  begging  for  a  seat  ? 
Well,  though  there  had  been  misgivings  and  ques- 
tionings about  our  system  of  pew  rentals,  with  the 
sittings  so  graded  that  one  could  read  the  relative 
financial  standing  of  the  worshipers  by  noting 
their  position  in  the  broad  aisles,  the  matter  had 
not  come  home  to  me  as  a  really  serious  question 
till  Christ  came  to  church  on  that  morning. 
Judging  by  his  dress  and  bearing  it  was  evident 
that  were  he  to  become  a  regular  attendant,  he 
could  not  afford  the  best  pew  in  the  house  :  and 
this  was  distressing  to  think  of,  since  I  knew  from 
Scripture  that  he  has  long  since  been  accorded  the 
highest  place  in  heaven,  "  angels  and  authorities 
and  powers  being  made  subject  unto  him."  And 
there  were  other  things  in  our  worship  whose 
presence  caused  great  searchings  of  heart,  so 
soon  as  the  Master  of  assemblies  was  recognized 
as  being  there. 

To  translate  the  dream  into  plain  literal  prose  : 
When  it  became  a  realized  and  unquestionable 
fact  that,  in  the  person  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  Jesus 
is  just  as  truly  in  the  midst  of  the  church  as  he 
once  stood  in  the  company  of  his  disciples  and 
"  showed  them  his  hands  and  his  feet,"  then  the 
whole  house  began  to  be  searched  as  with  a  lifted 
candle.  Yes  !  And  he  is  among  us  no  longer 
* '  as  one  that  serveth ' '  but  as    "a  Son  over  his 


own  house,  whose  house  are  we  if  we  hold  fast 
the  confidence  and  the  rejoicing  of  the  hope  firm 
unto  the  end."  We  who  worship  and  we  who 
conduct  worship  are  simply  his  servants  to  do  only 
what  he  bids  us  do,  and  to  speak  and  act  by  the 
guidance  of  his  Spirit. 

And  judgment  began  with  the  pulpit  as  that 
mysterious  man  in  yonder  pew  looked  toward  it 
and  listened,  though  he  spoke  not  a  word.  The 
theme  had  been  scriptural  and  evangelical,  as  we 
have  already  said  :  but  with  what  spirit  was  it 
presented  ?  We  have  "  preached  the  gospel  unto 
you  in  the  Holy  Ghost  se?it  forth  from  heaven  ' ' 
(i  Peter  i  :  12,  R.  V.),  is  almost  the  only  homi- 
letical  direction  found  in  Scripture.  And  yet  how 
deep  and  searching  the  words  !  We  are  not  to 
use  the  Holy  Spirit  in  preaching  :  he  is  to  use  us. 
As  the  wind  pours  through  the  organ  pipes, 
causing  their  voice  to  be  heard,  albeit  according 
to  the  distinctive  tone  and  pitch  of  each,  so  the 
Spirit  speaks  through  each  minister  of  Christ 
according  to  his  special  gift,  that  the  people  may 
hear  the  word  of  the  Lord.  Is  it  not  the  most 
subtle  temptation  which  comes  to  the  preacher  that 
he  allow  himself  to  be  played  upon  by  some  other 
spirit  than  the  Paraclete  ?  the  popular  desire  for 
eloquence,  for  humor,  for  entertainment,  for  wit, 
and  originality,  moving  him  before  he  is  aware,  to 
speak  for  the  applause  of  men  rather  than  for 
the  approval  of  Christ  ?      Not  until  the  presence 

IF    I    HAD    NOT    COME  59 

in  the  assembly  of  the  Spirit  of  the  Lord  is  recog- 
nized does  this  error  come  painfully  home  to  the 
conscience.  We  must  not  enter  into  personal 
experience  here,  further  than  to  tell  the  reader 
how  repeatedly  we  have  turned  to  the  following 
paragraph  in  the  Journal  of  John  Woolman,  the 
Quaker,  and  read  and  re-read  it : 

' '  One  day,  being  under  a  strong  exercise  of 
spirit,  I  stood  up  and  said  some  words  in  meeting, 
but  not  keeping  close  to  the  divine  opening,  I  said 
more  than  was  required  of  me.  Being  soon  sen- 
sible of  my  error,  I  was  afflicted  in  mind  some 
weeks,  without  any  light  or  comfort  even  to  that 
degree  that  I  could  not  take  satisfaction  in  any- 
thing. I  remembered  God  and  was  troubled,  and 
in  the  depth  of  my  distress  he  had  pity  on  me, 
and  sent  the  Comforter.  .  .  ,  Being  thus  hum- 
bled and  disciplined  under  the  cross,  my  imder- 
standijig  became  more  stre7igtheiied  to  distmginsk 
the  pure  Spirit  which  moves  inwardly  jipo?i  the 
heart,  and  which  taught  me  to  wait  in  silence, 
sometimes  many  weeks  together,  until  I  felt  that 
rise  which  prepares  the  creature  to  stand  like 
a  trumpet  through  which  the  Lord  speaks  to  his 

Here  is  a  bit  of  heart  biography  so  antique  and 
strange  to  that  spirit  of  unrestrained  utterance 
which  characterizes  our  time,  that  it  almost  needs 
an  interpreter  to  make  it  intelligible  ;  but  if  one 
has  ever  considered   deeply  the   requirement   to 

6o  HOW    CHRIST    CAME    TO    CHURCH 

speak  in  the  Spirit,  its  meaning  will  be  very  plain. 
Is  it  not  as  true  of  our  spirits  as  of  our  bodies  that 
the  severest  colds  which  we  contract  come  to  us 
from  sitting  in  a  draught  ?  Perhaps  a  current  of 
popular  applause  strikes  us  and  before  we  know 
it  our  fervor  has  become  chilled,  and  then  we  find 
ourselves  preaching  self  instead  of  preaching 
Christ,  giving  more  heed  to  r!ietorical  effect  than 
to  spiritual  impression,  till  the  Lord  mercifully 
humbles  us  and  shows  us  our  sin.  Well  were  it 
if  we  could  sometimes  impose  on  ourselves  the 
penance  of  "silence  many  weeks  together"  till 
we  should  learn  to  "keep  close  to  the  divine 

What  was  it  then  that  Jesus  in  the  Spirit 
seemed  to  demand  as  he  appeared  in  church  that 
morning  ?  What  but  the  freedom  of  the  place 
accorded  to  him  who  builded  the  house  and  there- 
fore "  hath  more  honor  than  the  house  "  ?  Is  it 
not  written  that  "  where  the  Spirit  of  the  Lord  is, 
there  is  liberty  ' '  ?  Not  liberty  for  us  to  do  as  we 
will  surely,  but  liberty  for  him  to  do  as  he  will. 
And  where  is  the  Spirit  now  but  in  the  church,  his 
only  sanctuary  in  this  dispensation  ?  Let  there  be 
no  restrictions  on  his  house  then,  lest — if  in  his 
revelation  the  Spirit  shall. 

Show  us  that  loving  man 
That  rules  the  courts  of  bliss, 

coming  into  our  assembly  to-day  "poor  and  in 
vile  raiment  " — he  shall  hear  the  word  :    "  Stand 

IF    I    HAD    NOT    COME  6 1 

thou  there  or  sit  here  under  my  footstool  ;  "    while 
to  the  ' '  man  with  a  gold  ring  and  goodly  apparel 
the  invitation  is  given  :   "Sit  thou  here  in  a  good 

And  the  Spirit  must  have  equal  liberty  in  the 
pulpit,  so  that  if  he  choose  to  come  into  the  ser- 
mon in  the  garb  of  plain  and  homely  speech,  he 
may  not  be  refused  a  hearing.  Indeed,  it  was 
just  this  accusation  that  came  to  one  unveiled 
heart  as  Christ  showed  himself  in  yonder  pew — 
the  conviction  that  he  might  have  been  fenced 
out  of  the  sermon  many  times  when  he  had  desired 
to  be  heard  therein,  because  the  discourse  had 
been  so  elaborately  pre-arranged  and  so  exactly 
written  out  that  after-thoughts  were  excluded 
though  they  should  come  direct  from  him. 

Ah,  yes  ;  and  that  was  not  the  deepest  revela- 
tion. If  Christ  is  present  in  the  pulpit  he  must 
think  his  thoughts  through  us  as  well  as  speak  his 
words  by  our  lips.  And  what  if  these  thoughts, 
like  their  Master,  should  be  to  some  hearers  like 
"a  root  out  of  a  dry  ground,"  having  no  beauty 
that  they  should  desire  them  ?  Art  thou  ready, 
oh  preacher,  to  take  all  the  consequences  of  letting 
the  Lord  speak  through  thee  as  he  will  ?  This 
may  sometimes  lead  thee  out  of  the  beaten  path 
of  accepted  opinion  and  into  ways  that  seem 
devious  to  sacred  tradition.  And  this  in  turn, 
though  done  in  humility,  may  bring  upon  thee  the 
accusation  of  pride  of  opinion  as  though  thou  wert 

62  HOW    CHRIST    CAME    TO    CHURCH 

saying  :  "I  have  more  understanding  than  all  my 
teachers."  Does  the  reader  know  the  story  of 
John  Tauler,  the  mystic,  and  of  that  anointing  and 
illumination  of  the  Spirit  which  came  to  him  after 
he  had  been  for  several  years  an  eloquent 
preacher  ?  He  represents  some  former  teacher  as 
chiding  him  for  departing  from  his  instructions  ; 
to  which  he  replies  :  "  But  if  the  highest  Teacher 
of  all  truth  come  to  a  man  he  must  be  empty  and 
quit  of  all  else  and  hear  his  voice  only.  Know 
ye  that  when  this  same  Master  cometh  to  me  he 
teaches  me  more  in  one  hour  than  you  and  all  the 
doctors  from  Adam  down."  Bold  words  !  Let 
us  reverence  our  teachers  and  seek  to  know  how 
much  the  Lord  hath  taught  us  through  them  ;  let 
the  words  of  commentators,  who  have  prayed  and 
pored  over  God's  holy  word  to  search  out  precious 
ore  for  us,  be  honored  for  all  the  wealth  that  they 
have  brought  to  us,  knowing  that  only  "  with  all 
saints,'"  can  we  "comprehend  what  is  the 
breadth  and  length  and  depth  and  height"  of 
the  love  of  Christ  which  passeth  knowledge. 
Nevertheless,  it  is  good  sometimes  with  Tauler 
"to  be  empty  and  quit  of  all  else  and  hear  his 
voice  only."  And  that  it  might  be  so  is  perhaps 
the  reason  why  Christ  came  to  church  that  day. 
The  world  is  full  of  books  which  demand  our 
study  if  we  would  know  the  mysteries  of  God  ; 
criticism  has  set  up  its  "scientific  method," 
declaring  that  what  in  the  Bible  cannot  stand  the 

IF    I    HAD    NOT    COME  63 

test  must  be  discarded.  But  while  the  vendors 
of  learning  are  crying  "  Lo  here,"  and  "  Lo 
there,"  the  Good  Shepherd  speaks,  saying  :  "  My 
sheep  hear  my  voice  "  ;  and  he  is  still  in  the  fold 
to  care  for  his  own,  to  lead  them  into  green  pas- 
tures where  the  freshest  and  sweetest  truth  is 
found  ;  to  make  them  lie  down  by  still  waters  in 
which  they  may  see  his  own  blessed  face  reflected. 
Only  let  not  the  sheep  hear  the  voice  of  strangers 
who  know  not  the  truth  :  let  them  hear  only  Christ. 
He  is  not  present  in  the  church  by  his  Spirit  as 
critic  and  censor  of  the  preacher,  but  as  his  gra- 
cious helper  and  counselor.  Then  give  him  lib- 
erty of  utterance  in  your  sermon,  oh,  man  of 
God  !  All  our  acquirements  in  knowledge  of  the 
world,  all  our  mastery  of  style  and  expression  he 
will  use,  if  it  is  surrendered  to  him.  But  this  is 
not  enough.  There  must  be  such  a  line  of  Scrip- 
ture exposition  in  the  sermon  that  the  Spirit  shall 
have  free  course  to  "  ride  triumphantly  through  it 
in  his  own  chariot,"  the  inspired  word  ;  and  there 
must  be  in  it  such  windows  looking  toward  "the 
divine  opening"  that  he  may  find  entrance  at 
every  point  with  suggestions,  illuminations,  inspi- 
rations. Let  those  who  know  bear  witness  whether, 
when  preaching  in  such  a  frame,  thoughts  have 
not  come  in,  far  better  than  any  which  we  had 
premeditated,  lessons,  illustrations,  and  admoni- 
tions fitted  to  the  occasion  and  to  the  hearer  as  we 
could  never  have  fitted  them  of  ourselves.      "  So 


after  many  mortifications  and  failures  when  going 
to  this  warfare  at  mine  own  charges,"  writes  one, 
"  I  found  that  on  this  day  I  had  been  at  ease  and 
had  had  liberty  in  prophesying,  and  withal  had 
spoken  better  than  I  knew,  and  I  said  :  '  Surely 
the  Lord  is  in  this  place  and  I  knew  it  not.' 

Give  me  to  see  thee  and  to  feel 

The  mutual  vision  clear  ; 
The  things  unseen  reveal,  reveal, 

And  let  me  know  them  near. 



llTHIN  the  church  of  God  the   quaUty  of 
actions    depends    not   altogether    upon 

I  what  they  are  in  themselves,  but  what 
they  are  in  their  relation  to  Christ.  Many  things, 
quite  innocent  in  their  proper  sphere,  become 
profane  when  brought  into  that  temple  where  God, 
the  Holy  Ghost,  has  his  dwelling  place. 

That  mysterious  stranger  who  awed  me  by  his 
presence  in  church  on  that  morning,  is  no  ascetic. 
It  cannot  be  forgotten  that  he  once  mingled  in  the 
festivities  of  a  marriage  feast  in  Cana,  and  that  he 
drew  about  him  sportive  children  and  took  them 
in  his  arms  and  blessed  them.  "And  if  Christ 
is  such  a  one,  oh  preacher  !  do  not  make  his 
church  a  mournful  place  where  we  must  repress 
all  exhibitions  of  natural  joy  and  social  good 
cheer,  and  becomxe  as  the  hypocrites  are  who  dis- 
figure their  faces  that  they  may  appear  unto  men 
to  fast."  Well-spoken  counsel,  no  doubt!  Yet 
Christ  is  still  Christ  ;  and  he  has  never  outgrown 
the  print  of  the  nails.     So  confident  of  this  am  I 

that  in  dreaming  over  my  dream  in  waking  hours, 
S  65 

66  HOW    CHRIST    CAME    TO    CHURCH 

it  always  seemed  certain  to  me  that,  had  I  come 
near  to  him  on  that  memorable  Sabbath  morning, 
I  should  have  discerned  the  marks  of  his  crucifix- 
ion in  his  body.     What  John  the  apostle  is  repre- 
sented as  saying  of  our  Lord  still  holds  true  : 
Cheerful  he  was  to  us  : 
But  let  me  tell  you,  sons,  he  was  within 
A  pensive  man,  and  always  had  a  load 
Upon  his  spirits. 

A  convivial  Christ  is  not  quite  the  personage 
that  rises  up  before  us  in  the  prophets  and  in  the 
Gospels.  And  yet  when  one  observes  the  pleas- 
ant devices  for  introducing  men  to  him,  which 
abound  in  the  modern  church — the  music,  the 
feasts,  the  festivals,  and  the  entertainments —  it 
would  seem  as  though  this  were  a  very  prevalent 
conception.  No  !  Jesus  is  the  serious  Christ, 
the  faithful  and  true  witness  who  will  never  cover 
up  his  scars  in  order  to  win  disciples.  Our  latter 
day  Christianity  would  not  abolish  the  cross 
indeed,  but  it  seeks  so  to  festoon  it  with  flowers, 
that  the  offense  thereof  may  be  hidden  out  of  sight. 
If  Christ  crucified  is  "unto  the  Greeks  foolish- 
ness," why  not  first  present  him  in  some  other 
character  if  any  of  this  cultured  people  are  among 
the  hearers  ?  But  does  not  the  reader  remember 
that  when  "  certain  Greeks  "  came  to  worship  at 
the  feast,  saying  "  we  would  see  Jesus,"  the  first 
recorded  word  which  the  Saviour  spoke  to  them 
was  :   "Verily,  verily,   I  say  unto  you,  Except  a 

IN    THY    LIGHT.  6/ 

corn  of  wheat  fall  into  the  ground  and  die  it 
abideth  alone  ;  but  if  it  die  it  bringeth  forth  much 
fruit,"  thus  presenting  the  whole  deep  doctrine  of 
the  cross  in  a  single  condensed  parable  ?  Never 
has  there  been  such  a  laborious  attempt  to  popu- 
larize Christ  as  in  the  closing  years  of  this  nine- 
teenth century.  But  if  the  Saviour  were  to  come 
to  church  and  reveal  himself  to  those  who  have 
so  mistaken  his  identity,  we  can  well  think  of  his 
saying  :  "  Behold  my  hands  and  my  feet  that  it  is 
If?tyself;  handle  me  and  see."  Ah,  yes  !  here 
are  the  tokens  by  which  we  recognize  his  real  per- 
sonality. "I  perceive  that  Christ  suffered  only 
his  wounds  to  be  touched  after  he  had  risen  from 
the  dead,"  says  Pascal,  "as  though  he  would 
teach  us  that  henceforth  we  can  be  united  to  him 
only  through  his  sufferings." 

But  it  is  Christ  in  the  Spirit  not  Christ  in  the 
flesh  whom  we  recognize  as  dwelling  in  the  church 
now  ;  and  it  is  the  church  as  a  spiritual  temple 
builded  of  living  stones,  not  a  material  structure 
fashioned  of  wood  or  granite  and  consecrated  to 
the  Lord  of  which  we  are  now  speaking.  Yes, 
and  out  of  this  conception  came  the  heartsearch- 
ing  and  the  house-searching  of  which  we  write. 

I  have  told  the  reader  how  having  in  vision 
recognized  Christ  as  present  on  that  morning,  an 
intense  anxiety  seized  me  as  to  whether  every- 
thing in  the  ordering  of  his  house  was  as  he  would 
have  it. 

68  HOW    CHRIST    CAME    TO    CHURCH 

There  was  a  choir  in  yonder  gallery,  employed 
at  an  expense  of  nearly  three  thousand  dollars,  to 
sing  the  praises  of  God  in  his  church.  Some  of 
the  number  were  believers  ;  the  larger  part  made 
no  profession  of  discipleship,  and  some  were  con- 
fessed disbelievers.  But  they  had  fine  voices, 
therefore  were  they  there.  No  word  of  criticism 
can  be  passed  upon  them,  since  they  were  serving 
solely  by  the  appointment  of  the  church.  But 
when  now  the  presence  of  Christ  by  the  Holy 
Ghost  was  realized,  the  minister  of  the  flock  began 
to  have  pangs  of  indescribable  misgiving  about 
this  way  of  administering  the  service  of  song. 
Had  it  not  been  a  method  long  in  vogue  ?  Yes. 
And  did  it  not  conform  to  the  general  usage  of 
Christian  congregations  ?  Yes.  Then  why  have 
scruples  about  it  ?  There  might  have  been  none 
but  for  the  presence  of  that  revered  man  from 
heaven.  But  Christ  has  come  to  church  :  "and 
who  may  abide  the  day  of  his  coming  ?  and  who 
shall  stand  when  he  appeareth  ?  for  he  is  like  a 
refiner's  fire  and  like  fuller's  soap."  And  the 
burning  of  that  fire  began  from  that  day,  and 
could  never  thenceforth  be  quenched  :  and  the 
cleansing  must  now  go  on  to  the  end. 

Does  the  Scripture  deal  in  poetry  or  in  fact 
when  it  says  to  the  church,  the  body  of  behevers  : 
•  •  Know  ye  not  that  ye  are  the  temple  of  God  and 
that  the  Spirit  of  God  dwelleth  in  you?"  Into 
the  inner  court  of  that   Jewish  temple  went  the 

IN    THY    LIGHT  69 

high  priest  alone,  once  every  year,  "  not  without 
bloody  Not  the  less  rigidly  was  it  required  of 
the  common  priests  who  ' '  went  into  the  first  taber- 
nacle, accomplishing  the  service  of  God,"  that 
they  should  come  first  to  the  brazen  altar  of  sacri- 
fice and  then  to  the  laver  of  cleansing  in  order  to 
be  qualified  for  their  ministry.  And  these  things 
happened  for  ensamples  unto  us.  The  types  are 
as  rigid  and  unchangeable  in  their  teaching 
as  mathematics.  The  altar  and  the  laver  ;  the 
blood  and  the  water  :  our  justification  by  the  cross 
and  our  sanctification  by  the  Spirit — these  two  are 
absolutely  prerequisite  and  their  order  is  forever 
fixed.  David  under  the  old  covenant  sought  for 
the  true  qualification  of  an  acceptable  worshiper 
when  he  prayed  :  "Purge  me  with  hyssop  and  I 
shall  be  cleati ;  wash  me  and  I  shall  be  whiter 
than  snowy  It  was  first  the  blood  and  then  the 
water.  The  exhortation  to  the  worshiper  under  the 
new  covenant  is  precisely  the  same  :  "  Let  us  draw 
near,  .  .  .  having  our  hearts  sprinkled  from  an 
evil  conscience  and  having  our  bodies  washed 
with  pure  water''  (Heb.  lo  :  22).  First  cleans- 
ing by  the  blood,  then  sanctification  by  the 

The  congregation  of  the  regenerate  church  now 
constitutes  the  earthly  priesthood  under  Christ  our 
great  High  Priest.  He  could  not  enter  into  the 
holiest  in  heaven  except  by  his  own  blood  ;  no  more 
can  any  one  on  earth  perform  the  smallest  service 

yo  HOW    CHRIST    CAME    TO    CHURCH 

in  the  worship  of  his  house — that  "  holy  temple  in 
the  Lord,  builded  together  for  a  habitation  of  God 
through  the  Spirit  " — who  has  not  been  justified  by 
the  blood  of  Christ.  This  was  the  deep  and  abid- 
ing conviction  which  seized  one  minister  of  Christ 
as  his  eyes  were  opened  by  the  coming  of  the  Lord 
to  search  his  sanctuary.  And  then  followed  unut- 
terable distress  of  conscience  about  this  whole 
grave  question.  There  were  those  singers  standing 
above  the  communion  table,  leading  a  divinely 
appointed  ministry  of  song.  And  yet  the  question 
had  never  been  asked  whether  they  had  come  under 
the  cleansing  of  the  blood  of  Christ  and  the  renew- 
ing of  the  Holy  Spirit  ;  only  whether  they  had  fine 
voices,  well  trained  and  harmonious.  The  situation 
brought  such  burden  of  soul  that  sometimes  the 
whole  service — the  prayer,  the  praise,  the  sermon 
— was  gone  through  with  under  indescribable  con- 
straint and  spiritual  repression.  When  the  mind 
of  Christ  was  sought  for  in  the  matter,  his  voice 
was  heard  saying  :  "  God  is  a  Spirit,  and  they  that 
worship  him  must  worship  in  spirit  and  i7t  truths 
Half  the  stanzas  sung  in  an  ordinary  service  are 
such  that  unconverted  persons  could  not  possibly 
sing  them  in  truth,  and  none  of  them  could  they 
sing  in  "the  Spirit."  Then  came  the  habit 
of  searching  for  hymns  more  neutral  and  more 
remote  from  Christian  experience,  lest  I  should  be 
the  occasion  of  causing  any  to  speak  falsely  in 
God's  presence.     And  more  than  all,  came  what 

IN    THY    LIGHT  Jl 

may  be  called  a  corporate  conviction,  a  taking  of 
blame  on  behalf  of  the  whole  church  concerning 
this  matter.  For  plainly  the  sin  seemed  nothing 
else  than  simony.  The  Lord  has  appointed  the 
Holy  Ghost  to  be  the  inspirer  and  director  of 
sacred  song  in  his  temple:  "Be  filled  with  the 
Spirit,  speaking  one  to  another  in  psalms  and 
hymns  and  spiritual  songs,  singing  and  making 
melody  with  your  heart  to  the  Lord  "  (Eph.  5:18, 
19,  R.  v.).  This  delight  of  sacred  song  is  greatly 
coveted  ;  and  they  who  have  wealth  say,  "We 
will  give  you  three  thousand  dollars  that  you  may 
buy  this  gift  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  and  may  bring  in 
singing  men  and  singing  women,  the  best  that  can 
be  procured,  that  the  attractions  of  our  sanctuary 
may  not  be  a  whit  behind  the  chiefest  in  all  the 
city."  And  it  seemed  to  me  that  the  voice  of  the 
Spirit  concerning  it  all  would  be:  "  Thy  money 
perish  with  thee,  because  thou  hast  thought 
that  the  gift  of  God  may  be  purchased  with 

Then  in  thought  the  vision  came  back,  and 
yonder  silent  Christ  seemed  to  speak  :  "  Reach 
hither  thy  finger  and  behold  my  hands  ;  and 
reach  hither  thy  hand  and  thrust  it  into  my  side." 
And  while  we  wondered  he  reasoned  with  us 
saying:  "Who  think  ye  that  I  am,  oh,  my 
brethren  ?  And  wherefore  came  I  unto  that 
hour  when  my  soul  was  exceeding  sorrowful,  even 
unto  death  ? ' '      Was  it  that   you  might  live  deli- 

72  HOW    CHRIST    CAME    TO    CHURCH 

cately  and  bring  in  the  minstrels  to  perform  before 
you  in  my  house  ?  Behold  they  that  live  deli- 
cately are  in  king's  courts  ;  but  ye  are  they  whom 
I  have  appointed  to  bear  the  cross  and  to  fill  up 
that  which  is  behind  of  the  afflictions  of  Christ  for 
his  body's  sake,  which  is  the  church.  "  The  sac- 
rifice of  praise,  even  tJte  fruit  of  the  lips,''  have  I 
enjoined  upon  you  ;  but  the  luxury  of  sumptuous 
music,  who  has  required  it  at  your  hands  ?  Where- 
fore do  ye  spend  your  money  for  that  which  is  not 
bread,  when  millions  are  perishing  for  the  bread 
of  life  which  I  have  commanded  you  to  bring 
them  ;  and  I  still  wait  to  see  of  the  travail  of  my 
soul  and  be  satisfied  ? 

As  I  heard  all  this  the  whole  heart  became 
sick.  I  thought  of  churches  which  were  bestowing 
ten  times,  and  in  some  instances  fifty  times  as 
much  for  artistic  music  as  they  contributed  to  for- 
eign missions,  and  I  said  :  "  We  are  believers  by 
the  cleansing  of  the  blood  and  by  the  indwelling 
of  the  Spirit  ;  have  been  constituted  '  a  spiritual 
house,  an  holy  priesthood  to  offer  up  spiritual  sac- 
rifices '/  but  instead  of  using  our  ministry  in  hum- 
ble dependence  on  the  Holy  Ghost,  we  have 
brought  up  minstrels  from  Egypt,  that  '  music 
with  its  voluptuous  swell '  may  take  the  place  of 
that  chastened,  self-denying,  holy  song  which 
no  man  can  learn  but  they  that  have  been 

And  out  of  this  storm  of  questioning  and  mis- 

IN    THY    LIGHT  73 

giving,  and  all  this  deep  inquisition  of  conscience, 
there  arose  at  last  one  of  the  calmest,  maturesr, 
and  most  unconquerable  convictions  of  my  life. 
I  could  never  in  any  circumstance  accept  a  min- 
istry where  the  worship  appointed  by  God  has 
been  so  perverted  by  men.  Not  in  the  language 
of  metaphor  or  of  poetry,  but  in  the  words  of 
literal  truth  I  hear  God  saying  :  ''For  the  teinple 
of  God  is  holy,  which  temple  ye  are.''  When  I 
can  consent  to  have  the  communion  table  moved 
out  into  the  court  of  the  Gentiles,  and  call  upon 
the  thoughtless  and  unconverted  to  receive  the 
sacred  elements  lying  thereon,  then  I  may  see  the 
propriety  of  bringing  a  choir  of  unregenerated 
musical  artists  into  the  Holy  of  Holies  of  the 
church,  and  of  committing  to  their  direction  the 
service  of  song.  This  conviction  rests  neither 
upon  prejudice  nor  preference,  but  upon  the  fixed 
assurance  that  in  the  house  of  God  I  am  servant, 
not  the  master,  and  that  I  have  no  alternative  but 
to  comply  strictly  with  the  divine  arrangements  of 
the  church  fixed  by  the  Lord  himself. 

When  I  had  written  all  this  I  imagined  I  heard 
some  reader  exclaiming  :  "Is  not  this  a  Pharisee 
of  the  Pharisees  risen  up  within  the  Christian 
church,  and  tithing  the  mint,  anise  and  cummin 
of  religious  worship  ?  Is  there  really  any  ground 
for  his  scruples,  or  anything  practical  in  his 
suggestions  ? ' '      Let  this  appear  in  later  chapters. 


THE    TEMPLE     OF    GOD    IS    HOLY 

RECALL  a  sermon  by  President  Way- 
land,  preached  while  I  was  a  student, 
in  which  he  spoke  thus,  in  brief,  about 
amusements:  "You  ask  me  if  it  is  sinful  for 
Christians  to  play  cards.  Well,  you  remember 
that  the  Roman  soldiers  threw  dice  and  cast  lots 
while  our  Saviour  was  dying  on  the  cross.  But 
you  as  his  disciples,  had  you  been  present,  could 
not  have  taken  part  in  that  game  of  chance. 
And  why  should  you  do  so  now  before  whose  eyes 
Jesus  Christ  hath  been  evidently  set  forth  crucified 
among  you  ?  " 

It  was  a  practical  and  pointed  way  of  setting 
forth  a  great  principle.  The  church,  which  has 
journeyed  on  for  nearly  nineteen  hundred  years, 
has  never  left  the  crucified  Christ  behind.  I  make 
no  reference  here  to  a  material  sanctuary  with  the 
cross  and  passion, — symbols  wrought  into  its  eccle- 
siastical architecture, — but  to  that  "  holy  temple 
in  the  Lord  ' '  in  which  we  are  ' '  builded  together 
for  a  habitation  of  God  through  the  Spirit."  It  is 
in  this  house  that  we  stand  during  the  entire  dis- 

THE    TEMPLE    OF    GOD    IS    HOLY  75 

cussion.  As  we  mark  on  every  hand  its  divine 
architecture,  we  observe  that  the  cross  is  inwrought 
with  each  article  of  its  furniture.  In  the  ordinance 
through  which  we  enter  the  temple,  we  are 
''baptized  into  his  death.''''  In  the  communion 
which  we  keep  perpetually  within  its  courts,  we 
"  do  show  the  Lord' s  death  till  he  corned  In  the 
pulpit  where  the  gospel  is  proclaimed,  "  we  preach 
Christ  crucified,  the  power  of  God  and  the  wisdom 
of  God."  In  the  songs  which  we  sing  we  offer 
*' the  sacrifice  of  praise  to  God  continually,  that 
is  the  fruit  of  our  lips."  Thus  the  crucified  One 
is  visible  in  every  service  and  sacrament  of  his 
temple.  That  solemn  stranger  in  yonder  pew  did 
not  "cry  nor  lift  up  nor  cause  his  voice  to  be 
heard  "  in  his  temple  ;  for  in  each  act  of  worship 
he  had  ordained  that  his  word  should  be  heard, 
saying  :  "I  am  he  that  liveth  and  was  dead,  and 
behold  I  am  alive  for  evermore." 

Once  standing  within  this  holy  temple  of  the 
church  a  great  apostle  wept  because  "  the  enemies 
of  the  cross  of  Christ  "  had  come  in  thither  (Phil. 
3  :  18,  19).  Who  were  they  ?  Heretics,  who  had 
denied  the  atonement  and  effaced  Christ  crucified 
from  their  creed  ?  Apostates,  who  by  their  fall 
from  grace  had  "crucified  the  Son  of  God 
afresh  ' '  ?  No  !  They  were  worldlings  who  had 
defiled  the  temple  by  their  unseemly  self-indul- 
gences. And  has  the  Lord  no  occasion  to  weep 
as  he  visits  his  church  to-day  ?     And  do  his  five 


bleeding  wounds  never  plead  in  silent  protest 
against  what  is  done  therein  ?  I  speak  not  of  the 
one  congregation  into  which  he  came  in  vision  on 
that  memorable  Sabbath  morning.  The  encroach- 
ments of  secularism  had  advanced  quite  far 
enough  therein  to  give  occasion  for  sincere  regret 
at  their  remembrance.  But  they  were  slight 
in  comparison  with  what  we  have  witnessed 

' '  Know  ye  not  that  ye  are  the  temple  of  God, 
and  that  the  Spirit  of  God  dwelleth  in  you  ?  If 
any  man  defile  the  temple  of  God,  hi?n  shall  God 
destroy ;  for  the  temple  of  God  is  holy,  which 
temple  ye  are''  (i  Cor.  3  :  16,  17).  We  do  not 
judge  that  the  defilement  here  mentioned  is  that 
of  personal  impurity,  in  which  one  sins  against 
his  own  body  by  the  indulgence  of  fleshly  lusts  and 
passions.  Though  the  words  are  often  applied  in 
this  way  there  seems  to  be  no  good  ground  for 
so  construing  them.  It  is  the  corporate  body 
which  is  spoken  of,  not  the  individual  body  ;  and 
to  defile  the  temple  of  God  is  to  profane  that  tem- 
ple by  bringing  into  its  precincts  idolatrous  rights 
and  ceremonies,  secular  and  carnal  indulgences, 
unsanctified  amusements  and  frivilous  entertain- 
ments to  minister  to  "the  lusts  of  the  eyes,  the 
lusts  of  the  flesh,  and  the  pride  of  life."  Here  we 
shall  refer  only  to  what  we  know  as  being  carried 
on  within  the  circle  of  Protestant  and  evangelical 
churches,    confessing-    as   we   do    so,    that    it  is   a 

THE  TEMPLE  OF  GOD  IS  HOLY       7/ 

shame  even  to  speak  of  the  things  done  by  them  in 
pubhc.  Nevertheless  we  must  look  at  the  unseemly 
catalogue  :  Performers  brought  from  the  opera  or 
from  the  theatre  on  Sunday  to  regale  the  ears  of 
the  church  with  some  flighty  song  of  artistic 
musical  display  ;  a  star  vioHnist  dressed  in  the 
style  of  his  profession,  preparing  the  way  for  the 
sermon  by  a  brilliant  and  fantastic  solo  ;  a  curtain 
drawn  across  the  pulpit  platform  on  a  week-night, 
footlights  and  scenery  brought  from  the  play-house, 
and  a  drama  enacted  by  the  young  people  of  the 
church,  ending  with  a  dance  by  the  gayly  dressed 
children  ;  a  comic  reader  filling  the  pulpit  on 
Monday  evening,  delivering  a  caricature  sermon 
amid  the  convulsive  laughter  and  hand-clapping 
of  the  Christians  present.  These  are  but  a  few 
acts  in  the  comedy  which  the  god  of  this  world  is 
performing  weekly  in  church  assemblies.  Taken 
with  the  dramatic  readings,  literary  entertain- 
ments, amateur  theatricals,  fairs,  frolics,  festivals, 
and  lotteries,  the  story  is  enough  to  make  the 
angels  of  the  churches  blush,  and  to  give  fresh 
occasion  for  an  apostle's  tears  while  he  utters  the 
solemn  verdict :  "  For  many  walk  of  whom  I  have 
told  you  often  and  now  tell  you  even  weeping, 
that  they  are  the  enemies  of  the  cross  of  Christ  ; 
whose  end  is  destruction,  whose  God  is  their  belly, 
and  whose  glory  is  their  shame,  who  mind  earthly 

It  is  well  known  that  certain  insects  conceal 

78  HOW    CHRIST    CAME    TO    CHURCH 

their  presence  by  assuming  the  color  of  the  tree  or 
leaf  on  which  they  prey.  Church  amusements 
are  simply  parasites  hiding  under  a  religious 
exterior,  while  they  eat  out  the  life  of  Christianity. 
Sacred  concerts,  church  fairs,  ecclesiastical  enter- 
tainments— how  well  the  words  sound  in  the  ears 
of  the  unwary.  But  when  the  Lord  appeared 
walking  among  the  golden  candlesticks  with 
countenance  like  the  sun  shining  in  his  strength, 
their  real  inwardness  was  instantly  revealed.  In 
the  midst  of  the  church  entertainments,  going  on 
for  the  avowed  purpose  of  winning  the  world  into 
friendship  with  Christians  ;  on  the  walls  of  the 
same  church,  inscribed  in  letters  of  gold,  were 
texts  of  Scripture  which  the  "  dim  religious  light  " 
had  so  obscured  that  few  seem  to  have  read  them  : 
"  If  any  man  love  the  world,  the  love  of  the  Father 
is  not  in  him,'"  and  ''Know  ye  not  that  the  friend- 
ship of  the  world  is  enmity  to  God?  "  When  the 
Lord  came  in,  these  inscriptions  began  to  gleam 
out  with  such  a  dazzling  brightness  as  the  window 
panes  sometimes  exhibit  under  the  rays  of  the  set- 
ting sun.  Then  a  great  horror  of  being  implicated 
in  so-called  sacred  amusements  seized  upon  one 
who  read  these  burnmg  texts,  so  that  once  on 
entering  a  church  where  such  frivolities  were 
going  on,  he  hastened  from  the  house  as  the  aged 
Apostle  John  in  Ephesus  is  said  to  have  fled  from 
the  bath  on  discovering  that  the  heretic  Cerinthus 
was  present. 

THE    TEMPLE    OF    GOD    IS    HOLY  79 

If  any  shall  name  such  scruples  phariseeism  or 
religious  prudery,  then  come  g.nd  let  us  reason 
together.  Go  into  a  Roman  Catholic  church  and 
witness  the  services  which  are  carried  on  there, 
and  the  question  will  at  once  arise,  How  is  it 
possible  that  the  simple  spiritual  worship  of  the 
primitive  church  could  have  degenerated  into  such 
a  mass  of  grotesque  ceremonials  and  idolatrous 
abominations  as  are  here  exhibited  ?  The  answer 
is  easily  found  on  looking  into  history.  For  a 
while  the  church  was  content  to  occupy  the  place 
of  holy  separation  from  the  world  appointed  her 
by  the  Lord — witnessing  for  Christ,  working  for 
Christ,  waiting  for  Christ.  This  austere  attitude 
gave  offense  to  the  heathen  who  had  often  desired 
to  be  friendly  with  the  Christians,  and  were  ready 
to  tolerate  their  religion  if  only  they  would  accord 
some  slight  token  of  respect  to  their  own  deities — 
a  gesture  of  reverence  or  a  grain  of  incense. 
But  all  this  was  rigidly  withheld  by  the  disciples  of 
Christ.  Not  the  smallest  concession  would  they 
make  to  pagan  customs  ;  not  a  shred  would  they 
incorporate  into  their  worship  from  the  heathen 
ceremonials  ;  and  so  long  as  they  maintained  this 
spirit,  they  went  forth  conquering  and  to  conquer. 

Then,  upon  the  enthronement  of  Constantine, 
the  sentiment  gradually  changed,  and  the  notion 
grew  up  that  in  order  to  convert  the  heathen  it  was 
necessary  to  conciliate  them  by  conforming  some- 
what to  their  customs.     The  great  Augustine  also 

8o  HOW    CHRIST    CAME    TO    CHURCH 

fell  under  this  delusion,  and  gave  his  countenance 
to  the  engrafting  into  Christian  worship  of  usages 
borrowed  from  the  heathen.  He  said:  "When 
peace  was  made  (between  the  emperors  of  Rome 
and  the  church)  the  crowd  of  Gentiles  who  were 
anxious  to  embrace  Christianity  were  deterred  by 
this,  that  whereas  they  had  been  accustomed  to  pass 
the  holidays  in  drunkenness  and  feasting  before 
their  idols,  they  could  not  easily  consent  to  forego 
these  most  pernicious  yet  ancient  pleasures.  // 
seejned  good  then  to  our  leaders  to  favor  this  part  of 
their  weakness,  and  for  those  festivals  which  they 
had  relinquished,  to  substitute  others  in  honor  of 
the  holy  martyrs,  which  they  might  celebrate  with 
similar  luxury,  though  not  with  the  same 
impiety.^"  Here  is  the  door  opened  through 
which  the  whole  troop  of  abominations  entered — 
saint  worship,  idol  worship,  virgin  worship — till 
in  an  incredibly  short  time  the  church,  which  had 
gone  forth  to  Christianize  the  heathen,  was  found 
to  have  become  herself  completely  paganized. 

The  nineteenth  century  is  presenting  almost 
the  exact  facsimile  of  the  fourth  century  in  this 
particular.  The  notion  having  grown  up  that  we 
must  entertain  men  in  order  to  win  them  to 
Christ,  every  invention  for  world-pleasing  which 
human  ingenuity  can  devise  has  been  brought  for- 
ward till  the  churches  in  multitudes  of  instances 
have  been  turned  into  play-houses,  with  theatre- 

1  Aug.  "  Epist.",  p.  29. 

THE    TEMPLE    OF    GOD    IS    HOLY  8 1 

boards  announcing  the  courses  for  the  gay  season, 
boldly  set  up  at  the  doors  ;  and  there  is  hardly  a 
carnal  amusement  that  can  be  named,  from  bill- 
iards to  dancing,  which  does  not  now  find  a  nest- 
ing-place in  Christian  sanctuaries.  Is  it  then 
phariseeism  or  pessimism  to  sound  the  note  of 
alarm  and  to  predict  that  at  the  present  fearful 
rate  of  progress,  the  close  of  this  decade  may  see 
the  Protestant  church  as  completely  assimilated  to 
nineteenth  century  secularism  as  the  Roman 
Catholic  church  was  assimilated  to  fourth  century 
paganism  ? 

And  this  is  not  all  :  the  temple  has  been 
defiled.  "  For  what  agreement  hath  the  temple 
of  God  with  idols  ;  for  ye  are  the  temple  of  God  : 
as  God  hath  said,  I  will  dwell  in  them  and  walk 
in  them,  and  I  will  be  their  God  and  they  shall  be 
my  people."  Anything  thrust  into  God's  place  is 
an  idol.  When,  in  2  Thess.  2  :  3,  4,  the  culmi- 
nation of  the  predicted  apostasy  is  described,  it  is 
said  of  "the  man  of  sin,"  that  "  He  as  God  sit- 
teth  in  the  temple  of  God,  showing  himself  that  he 
is  God."  Here,  I  believe,  we  have  a  picture  of 
the  pope,  thrusting  himself  into  the  seat  of  the 
Holy  Spirit,  assuming  the  title  of  "Vicar  of 
Christ,"  which  belongs  only  to  that  "other  Para- 
clete "  whom  Jesus  promised  to  send  down  to  fill 
his  place  during  his  absence.  This  sin  of  unseat- 
ing the  Holy  Ghost  in  his  own  temple  is  so  blas- 
phemous that  its  author  has  no  forgiveness,  but  is 

82  HOW    CHRIST    CAME    TO    CHURCH 

doomed  to  be  destroyed  "by  the  brightness  of 
Christ's  coming."  And  is  there  no  danger  that 
Protestantism  may  fall  under  the  same  guilt  ? 
What  if  the  Holy  Spirit  is  ejected  from  the  choir, 
and  his  office  as  inspirer  of  sacred  song  committed 
to  a  quartette  of  unconverted  musical  artists  ? 
What  if  he  be  unseated  from  the  pulpit  and  the 
intellectual  discourse  substituted  for  that  preaching 
of  the  gospel  ' '  with  the  Holy  Ghost  sent  down 
from  heaven  ' '  which  God  has  appointed  ?  What 
if  he  be  set  aside  from  the  administration  of  the 
church,  so  that,  for  example,  the  settling  of  a  pas- 
tor shall  be  made  to  turn  on  the  votes  of  uncon- 
verted men  called  ' '  the  society, ' '  when  the  Lord 
has  spoken  about  ' '  the  flock  of  God  over  which 
the  Holy  Ghost  hath  made  yon  overseers  "  f  Is 
there  no  peril  that  by  this  constant  unseating  of 
the  Spirit  he  may  be  finally  driven  from  his  sanc- 
tuary, repeating  as  he  redres  the  solemn  lament 
of  the  Saviour  :  ' '  Behold  your  house  is  left  unto 
you  desolate  ' '  ?  Wonderful  indeed  is  the  patience 
of  the  Comforter  !  As  the  Lord  Christ,  when 
"  there  was  no  room  for  him  in  the  inn,"  con- 
descended to  lie  in  a  manger,  so  the  Lord, 
the  Spirit,  when  crowded  out  of  pulpit,  and  choir, 
and  pew,  and  seat  of  authority,  may  retire  into 
some  obscure  retreat  of  his  church, — heart  of 
humble  saint  or  home  of  hidden  disciple, — wait- 
ing patiently  to  be  invited  back  to  his  rightful 

THE    TEMPLE    OF     GOD    IS    HOLY  83 

That  he  may,  and  sometimes  does,  finally  with- 
draw from  his  temple,  there  can  be  no  question. 
Do  we  not  know  of  churches  once  fervently  evan- 
gehcal  which  are  now  lying  under  the  doom  of 
desertion  by  the  Spirit  ?  The  writer  thinks,  with 
all  charity,  that  he  has  seen  such  ;  churches  upon 
which  the  Lord's  sentence  has  gone  forth,  "  Thou 
hast  a  name  that  thou  livest  and  art  dead."  The 
body  may  still  remain  indeed,  the  creeds  and 
Confessions  may  continue  intact,  and  the  forms  of 
worship  may  even  be  multiplied  and  vastly 
"enriched"  as  the  years  go  on,  but  these  out- 
ward forms  are  only  memorials  of  a  departed 
glory,  like  the  death-mask  which  preserves  the 
mold  of  features  which  have  long  since  crumbled 
into  dust. 

If  any  reader  thinks  that  what  v/e  are  saying 
is  simply  "  exposition,"  we  have  to  add  that  it  is 
this  and  more  ;  it  is  experience,  and  every  word 
is  confirmed  in  the  mouth  of  heart-witnesses 
and  conscience-witnesses  and  church-witnesses. 
When  an  evangelist  goes  to  a  congregation  to 
hold  special  services,  and  finds  after  a  day  or  two 
that  the  whole  membership  is  in  a  state  of  sus- 
pended animation,  let  him  take  a  candle,  as  the 
Hebrews  did  on  the  eve  of  Passover,  and  let  him 
diligently  search  the  house  for  leaven.  Let  him 
go  into  the  choir  gallery  and  learn  whether  a 
quartette  of  unsanctified  musicians  is  seated 
there  ;  let  him  then  go  into  the  vestry  and  inquire 

84  HOV/    CHRIST    CAME    TO    CHURCH 

whether  the  winter's  programme  of  church 
amusements  is  still  proceeding.  He  may  go  far- 
ther, but  the  writer  bears  solemn  witness  that  even 
these  two  obstructions  have  been  found  sufficient 
to  bar  the  way  to  all  success  in  revival  effort.  It 
is  written  and  cannot,  without  infinite  peril,  be 
forgotten,  that  the  church  is  "  an  holy  temple  in  the 
Lord''  /that  it  is  "  bidlded  together  for  an  habita- 
tion of  God  in  the  Spirit ' '  /  that  ' '  the  Lord  is  that 
Spirit,""  governing  and  administering  therein 
with  sovereign  authority,  and  that  only  "where 
the  Spirit  of  the  Lord  is  there  is  liberty."  Except 
he  has  sanctified  instruments  in  every  part  of  the 
house,  he  cannot  move  through  the  assemblies  in 
victorious  freedom  of  service. 

Yet,  so  inveterate  is  the  tendency  to  turn  away 
from  the  Spirit  and  to  listen  to  other  voices,  that 
"  He  that  hath  the  seven  Spirits  of  God,"  warns 
his  church  from  heaven  in  a  seven-fold  admoni- 
tion repeated  at  the  end  of  each  succeeding  chapter 
in  her  seven-fold  apocalyptic  history  :  "  He  that 
hath  an  ear  let  him  hear  what  the  Spirit  saith  unto 
the  churches." 



HY  not  withdraw  from  the  church  which 
has  become  thus  secularized  and  dese- 
crated ?  To  which  we  reply  emphatic- 
ally :  Until  the  Holy  Spirit  withdraws  we  are  not 
called  upon  to  do  so.  And  he  is  infinitely  patient, 
abiding  still  in  his  house  so  long  as  there  are  two 
or  three  who  gather  in  Christ's  name  to  constitute 
a  templiim  in  templo,  a  sanctuary  within  a  sanc- 
tuary, where  he  may  find  a  home. 

What  the  lungs  are  to  the  air  the  church  is  to 
the  Holy  Spirit  ;  and  each  individual  believer  is 
like  a  cell  in  those  lungs.  If  every  cell  is  open 
and  unobstructed  the  whole  body  is  full  of  Hght  ; 
but  if  through  a  sudden  cold,  congestion  sets  in, 
so  that  the  larger  number  of  these  cells  are  closed, 
then  the  entire  burden  of  breathing  is  thrown 
upon  the  few  which  remain  unobstructed.  With 
redoubled  activity  these  now  inhale  and  ex- 
hale the  air,  till  convalescence  shall  return. 
So  we  strongly  believe  that  a  few  Spirit-filled 
disciples  are  sufficient  to  save  a  church  ;  that 
the    Holy  Ghost,   acting    through   these,  can  and 


86  HOW    CHRIST    CAME    TO    CHURCH 

does  bring  back  recovery  and  health  to  the 
entire    body. 

I  saw  no  whip  of  small  cords  in  the  hands 
of  that  pilgrim-Christ  who  turned  aside  f^r  a 
moment  to  visit  our  sanctuary  on  that  ever-remem- 
bered Lord's  Day  morning.  The  time  has  not  yet 
come  for  judging  and  punishing  those  who  defile 
the  temple  of  God.  On  the  contrary,  it  seems  as 
though  I  heard  that  gracious  stranger  say  : 
"Behold,  I  stand  at  the  door,  and  knock  :  if 
any  man  hear  my  voice,  and  open  the  door,  I  will 
come  in  to  him,  and  will  sup  with  him,  and  he 
with  me."  The  throne-room  of  the  church  where 
he  has  ordained  to  rule  his  flock  ;  the  choir-room 
where  he  would  preside  in  the  Holy  Ghost  as  the 
inspirer  of  praise  ;  the  pew-rooms  into  which  he 
would  have  freedom  of  entrance,  even  when  com- 
ing in  the  lowliest  garb  ;  these  he  did  not  storm 
with  violent  anathemas,  but  gently  solicited  to 
open  unto  him.  Woe  to  those  who  judge  before 
the  time  !  who  depart  from  their  brethren,  and 
slam  that  door  behind  them  before  which  Jesus  is 
gently  knocking  ;  who  spue  the  church  out  of  their 
mouths  while  he,  though  rebuking  it,  still  loves  it 
and  owns  it  and  invites  it  to  sup  with  him. 

"  For  the  law  of  the  Spirit  of  life  in  Christ 
Jesus  hath  made  me  free  from  the  law  of  sin  and 
death, ' '  writes  the  apostle.  This  is  the  method  of 
the  Lord's  present  work — death  overcome  by  life. 
"  I  cannot  sweep  the  darkness  out  but  I  can  shine 


it  out,"  said  John  Newton.  We  cannot  scourge 
dead  works  out  of  the  church,  but  we  can  Hve 
them  out.  If  we  accuse  the  church  with  having 
the  pneumonia  let  us  who  are  individual  air-cells 
in  that  church,  breathe  deeply  and  wait  patiently 
and  pray  believingly,  and  one  after  another  of  the 
obstructed  cells  will  open  to  the  Spirit  till  conva- 
lescence is  re-established  in  every  part. 

With  the  deepest  humility  the  writer  here  sets 
his  seal  of  verifying  experience.  When  the  truth 
of  the  in-residence  of  the  Spirit  and  of  his  pre- 
siding in  the  church  of  God  became  a  hving  con- 
viction, then  began  a  constant  magnifying  of  him 
in  his  offices.  Several  sermons  were  preached 
yearly  setting  forth  the  privileges  and  duties  of 
Christians  under  his  administration  ;  special  sea- 
sons of  daily  prayer  were  set  apart,  extending 
sometimes  over  several  weeks,  during  which  con- 
tinual intercession  was  made  for  the  power  of  the 
Holy  Ghost.  It  was  not  so  much  prayer  for  par- 
ticular blessings  as  an  effort  to  get  into  fellowship 
with  the  Spirit  and  to  be  brought  into  unreserved 
surrender  to  his  life  and  acting.  The  circle  of 
those  thus  praying  was  thus  constantly  enlarged. 
Then  gradually,  the  result  appeared  in  the  whole 
church  ;  the  incoming  tide  began  to  fill  the  bays 
and  inlets,  and  as  it  did  so  the  driftwood  was  dis- 
lodged and  floated  away.  Ecclesiastical  amuse- 
ments dropped  off,  not  so  much  by  the  denuncia- 
tion of  the  pulpit,  as  by  the  displacement  of  the 

88  HOW    CHRIST    CAME    TO    CHURCH 

deepening  life.  The  service  of  song  was  quietly- 
surrendered  back  to  the  congregation  and, 
instead  of  the  select  choir,  the  church — who  con- 
stitute the  true  Levites  as  well  as  the  appointed 
priesthood  of  the  New  Dispensation — took  up  the 
sacrifice  of  praise  anew  and  filled  the  house  with 
their  song.  As  noiselessly  and  irresistibly  as  the 
ascending  sap  displaces  the  dead  leaves  which 
have  clung  all  winter  long  to  the  trees,  so  quietly 
did  the  incoming  Spirit  seem  to  crowd  off  the  tra- 
ditional usages  which  had  hindered  our  liberty. 
Later  came  the  abolition  of  pew-rentals  and  the 
disuse  of  church  sales  for  raising  money  for  mis- 
sions and  other  charities.  Meantime  the  pulpit 
acquired  a  liberty  hitherto  unknown  ;  the  outward 
hampering  being  removed,  the  inward  help 
became  more  and  more  apparent,  and  the  preacher 
felt  himself  constantly  drawn  out  instead  of  being 
perpetually  repressed  as  in  the  olden  time.  The 
prayer  meeting  soon  passed  beyond  the  necessity 
of  being  "  sustained  "  and  became  the  most  help- 
ful nourisher  and  sustainer  of  the  church.  The 
place  is  always  filled,  and  instead  of  urging  the 
people  to  come,  or  inviting  them  to  participate, 
the  attendance  is  joyfully  voluntary,  and  the  pray- 
ing and  testifying  always  so  spontaneous  and 
hearty  that  one  can  scarce  rememember  when  it 
has  been  found  needful  to  urge  Christians  to  the 
exercise  of  these  privileges. 

It  is  by  no  means  affirmed  that  the  old  leaven 


has  been  completely  purged  out,  so  that  nothing  of 
the  secular  and  unspiritual  remains  in  the  temple 
of  the  Spirit  where  we  worship.  No  !  If  that 
Divine  Visitant  were  to  appear  once  more  in 
yonder  pew,  and  with  those  eyes  which  are  like  a 
flame  of  fire  were  to  search  our  sanctuary,  it  pains 
me  to  think  what  he  might  discover,  which  has 
hitherto  escaped  our  search.  We  are  only  speak- 
ing now  of  a  comparative  cleansing,  deeply  sen- 
sible of  much,  both  known  and  unknown,  which 
yet  remains  to  be  accomplished. 

But  of  the  result  thus  far  may  we  speak  with- 
out glorying.  Most  apt  is  Dr.  Bonar's  story  of 
the  auctioneer,  who  was  commending  in  glowing 
words  a  picture  by  one  of  the  old  masters,  himself 
meanwhile  standing  behind  the  painting  which  he 
was  selling,  and  allowing  it  to  hide  him  from  view. 
All  that  we  are  trying  to  do  in  this  chapter  is  to 
magnify  the  work  of  an  ' '  old  master, ' '  the  Gali- 
lean Carpenter,  who  only  asked  liberty  to  work 
among  us  that  he  might  build  "his  own  house; 
whose  house  are  we,  if  we  hold  fast  the  confidence 
and  the  rejoicing  of  the  hope  firm  unto  the  end  " 
(Heb.  3  :  6).  Let  his  work  appear  unto  his  ser- 
vants, and  let  "  the  workers  together  with  him  " 
be  hidden  from  view. 

I  observed  neither  saw,  hammer,  nor  plane  in 
his  hand  when  he  came  into  yonder  pew  on  that 
morning  ;  and  though  from  that  day  he  began  to 
reconstruct  the  temple,  ' '  there  was  neither  ham- 


mer,  nor  axe,  nor  any  tool  of  iron,  heard  in  the 
house  while  it  was  building."  All  went  on  noise- 
lessly, so  that  now  we  wonder  at  the  progress  of 
the  work. 

One  freshly  anointed  was  moved  to  undertake 
a  mission  to  the  Jews,  among  whom  up  to  this 
time  no  systematic  effort  had  been  made  ;  the 
result — hundreds  of  Hebrews  reached  by  the  gos- 
pel, not  a  few  converts  won  to  Christ,  and  a 
Jewish  missionary  raised  up  for  his  people. 

Another  brother  was  drawn  out  on  behalf  of 
the  Chinese  ;  the  result — a  Chinese  mission  school 
of  two  hundred  ;  twenty-five  now  members  of  the 
church,  and  one  of  their  number,  a  veritable 
apostle,  now  returned  to  his  native  land,  to  make 
known  the  gospel  to  his  countrymen. 

A  newly  quickened  disciple  was  drawn  to  the 
work  of  outdoor  preaching  ;  the  result — a  band  of 
young  men  and  women  raised  up  who  have  gone 
to  wharves,  car-stables,  and  public  squares,  with 
increasing  devotion  to  this  service,  which  has  now 
gone  on  weekly  for  more  than  five  years. 

Others  were  moved  to  enter  into  rescue  work 
among  ruined  women  ;  the  result — a  home  opened 
and  now  a  far-reaching  effort  extending  out  and 
bringing  Christians  of  all  names  into  co-operation. 

An  industrial  home  was  instituted  for  intem- 
perate and  unemployed  men  ;  the  result — a  shelter 
in  which  thousands  have  found  refuge,  and  converts 
have  been  won  to  Christ  by  hundreds. 


A  training  school  for  evangelists  was  opened, 
designed  to  equip  men  and  women  of  humble 
attainments  for  Christian  work  at  home  and 
abroad  ;  the  result — a  score  of  foreign  mission- 
aries sent  out  since  the  work  began,  four  years 
ago  ;  and  many  more  put  forth  into  destitute  fields 
at  home,  while  a  hundred  and  fifty  are  now  under 

Meantime  evangelistic  efforts  have  reached  out 
on  every  side,  some  "tens  "  of  our  brethren  being 
entirely  occupied  in  this  work  and  as  many  more 
working  in  the  foreign  field.  By  spontaneous  free- 
will giving  the  offerings  to  foreign  missions  have 
steadily  increased,  rising  to  ten  thousand,  to 
twelve  thousand,  and  one  year  to  twenty  thousand 
dollars,  as  the  annual  contribution  to  this  work. 
And  this  increase  in  giving  was  not  the  result  of 
begging  or  dunning.  Much  prayer  was  made  and 
the  strongest  evangelical  motive  urged  in  behalf 
of  it.  Meantime  there  has  been  a  freshness  and 
heartiness  in  our  worship  hitherto  unknown.  The 
Spirit  has  had  liberty  to  break  forth  in  song  in 
unexpected  ways  now  and  then,  as  when  a  joyous 
young  disciple  going  down  to  be  baptized  sang  the 
strains  of  "My  Jesus,  I  love  thee,  I  know  thou 
art  mine,"  as  he*-  feet  touched  the  water,  all  the 
congregation  uniting  with  overpowering  effect. 
What  could  that  little  quartette  box  have  done 
like  this  ? 

So,  likewise,  there  has  been   an  open  window 

92  HOW    CHRIST    CAME    TO    CHURCH 

into  the  sermon  through  which  the  Holy  Ghost  has 
come  in  with  unexpected  suggestions,  fitted  for 
the  occasion.  In  a  word,  the  law  of  liberty  seems 
to  have  largely  supplemented  machinery  and 
organization.  And  yet,  be  it  noted,  that  even  this 
record  would  not  be  committed  to  print  save  for 
one  reason,  viz.,  that  it  is  recognized  to  be  not  a 
"work"  but  "his  workmanship."  Not  one  of 
these  enterprises  was  planned  beforehand,  so  that 
they  could  be  credited  to  some  superior  organizer. 
They  "  grew  up,  he  knoweth  not  how,"  who  now 
tells  the  story.  They  are  described  after  much 
hesitation,  and  with  prolonged  weighing  of  each 
statement,  with  the  hope  that  they  may  bring  home 
the  suggestion  to  some  who  have  not  entertained 
it,  that  the  Holy  Ghost,  the  present  Christ,  has 
been  given  to  be  the  administrator  of  the  church  ; 
and  that  in  these  days  of  endless  organizatio7is  a?id 
multiplied  secular  machinery,  he  will  surprise  us 
by  showing  what  he  will  do  if  we  will  give  him 
unhitidered  liberty  of  action  in  his  own  house. 




HE  preceding  spiritual  autobiography  is 
based  upon  a  dream.  This  is  not  the 
first  time  that  a  dream  has  proved  a 
potent  factor  in  a  human  Hfe.  Those  who  are 
familiar  with  the  history  of  Catherine  of  Siena 
know  how  repeated  and  striking  were  her  visions 
by  day  and  by  night  ;  and  readers  of  the  life  of 
Richard  Baxter  will  recall  his  marked  experience, 
and  that  vivid  vision  of  lost  opportunities  which 
so  quickened  his  after  activity.  Christmas  Evans, 
also,  that  prince  of  Welsh  preachers,  while  yet  only 
a  young  convert  and  on  the  very  night  succeeding 
the  loss  of  one  eye  from  the  assault  of  ruffianly 
violence,  had  a  remarkable  dream.  He  thought 
that  the  awful  day  of  judgment  had  come,  and 
seeing  the  world  wrapped  in  its  winding  sheet  of 
flame,  he  cried  out,  with  mingled  terror  and  con- 
fidence, "Lord  Jesus,  save  me!"  Then  he 
beheld  the  Master  turn  toward  him,  and  heard  him 
say  :  "It  was  thy  intention  to  preach  the  gospel  ; 
but  it  is  now  too  late,  for  the  day  of  judgment  is 
already    come."     That    vision    of    the    darkness 

96      THE    DREAM    AS    INTERPRETING    THE    MAN 

remained  in  the  day  so  vivid  a  reality  that  the 
reflections  which  it  awakened  served  to  fan  into  a 
consuming  flame  of  ardor  and  fervor  his  passion 
for  souls.  And  he  always  believed  that  this  and 
other  dreams  were  God's  messengers  sent  to  com- 
municate to  him  some  of  the  mightiest  impulses 
that  swayed  his  life. 

While,  therefore,  Dr.  Gordon  was  not  the  first 
man,  or  preacher  of  the  gospel,  whose  life,  char- 
acter, and  conduct  have  been  singularly  molded 
by  a  dream,  he  was  careful  to  claim  even  for  this 
remarkable  and  unique  experience,  no  supernat- 
ural origin. 

"  The  prophet  that  hath  a  dream,  let  him  tell 
a  dream  ; 

"  And  he  that  hath  my  word,  let  him  speak  my 
word  faithfully. 

'  'What  is  the  chaff  to  the  wheat,  saith  the  Lord. ' ' 

In  strict  conformity  to  this  divine  injunction, 
this  dream  is  told,  as  such,  without  affirming  for 
it,  or  even  implying  in  it,  any  authority.  Nor  is 
any  philosophy  here  suggested  as  to  those  strange 
vagaries  of  the  spirit  in  the  semi-conscious  state 
of  sleep,  which  seem  to  belong  to  the  borderland 
between  insanity  and  inspiration,  and  which,  after 
all  these  centuries,  remain  still  an  unsolved 
mystery.  Yet,  in  this  instance  as  in  many  others, 
the  fact  remains  obvious  that  God  has  used  a 
dream  to  put  into  life  a  new  meaning,  and  impart 
to  holy  activity  a  n.ew  momentum. 

THE    DREAM    AS    INTERPRETING    THE    MAN      97 

There  is  one  important  law  of  dreams  which 
should,  however,  be  recognized  :  they  do  sustain 
an  important  relation  to  the  habitual  inner  life. 
Whether  by  way  of  correspondence  or  of  contrast, 
they  serve  as  a  sort  of  reflection  of  the  mental 
moods  and  spiritual  habits.  Such  a  dream  as  is 
here  recorded  is  therefore  an  index  and  inter- 
preter of  the  man,  and  will  bear  careful  study  as  a 
revelation  of  his  inner  self. 

Dreams,  moreover,  have  this  unique  pecu- 
liarity, that  they  translate  the  historical  into  the 
poetical,  the  actual  into  the  allegorical ;  that  is, 
they  weave  sensuous  impressions  or  abstract  ideas 
into  concrete  and  often  personal  forms.  The 
imagination,  being  no  more  restrained  and  cor- 
rected by  the  more  practical  senses,  is  left  to  itself 
to  wander  as  it  wall  and  build  fantastic  forms 
unchecked  by  the  sober  realistic  reason.  Hence 
such  a  dream  as  is  here  crystalized  into  a  narra- 
tive, when  divested  of  its  purely  imaginative  and 
allegorical  dress,  becomes  a  valuable  exponent  of 
the  author's  inmost  habits  of  thought  and  feeling. 
As  such  we  shall  now  consider  it,  believing  these 
mental  habits  to  supply  the  most  helpful  sort  of 
practical  and  biographical  commentary  upon  the 
striking  narrative  which  was  the  last  product  of 
Dr.  Gordon's  gifted  pen,  and  which  forms  the  last 
legacy  of  this  holy  man  and  prince  among 
preachers  to  the  church  of  his  generation. 

The  dream   centers  about  the  personal  coming 

98      THE    DREAM    AS    INTERPRETING    THE    MAN 

of  Christ  to  his  own  church,  his  reception  there, 
the  character  of  the  worship  he  confronted,  the 
fideUty  of  the  gospel  message  he  heard,  the  spirit- 
ual attitude  of  the  hearers  whom  he  met,  and  his 
general  approval  or  disapproval  of  the  whole 
atmosphere  of  the  place  of  prayer  ;  and  espec- 
ially the  measure  of  his  recognition  of  the  invisi- 
ble presence  and  presidence  of  the  Holy  Spirit  in 
the  body  of  Christ.  Who  that  knew  Adoniram 
Judson  Gordon  needs  to  be  told  that  such  a  dream 
is  not  a  mere  incoherent  and  senseless  vagary  of 
the  mind,  for  it  invests  with  poetic  and  allegorical 
form  the  ruling  ideas  and  ideals  of  his  whole 
later  life,  which  may  be  classified  somewhat  as 
follows  : 

1.  Loyalty  to  the  person  of  Christ  as  Son  of 
God  and  his  own  Saviour. 

2.  The  blessed  hope  of  his  personal  coming, 
as  an  imminent  event. 

3.  The  high  vocation  of  the  preacher  as  Christ's 
herald,  witness,  and  ambassador. 

4.  The  purity  of  worship  as  the  exaltation  of 
God  alone  in  his  sanctuary. 

5.  The  supreme  authority  of  the  inspired  and 
infallible  word  of  God. 

6.  The  conformity  of  entire  church  life  to  a 
biblical  pattern. 

7.  The  invisible  presence  and  power  of  the 
Holy  Spirit  in  the  church  as  his  temple  and  seat 
of  administration. 


To  present  these  conceptions  in  their  order, 
somewhat  as  they  lay  in  Dr.  Gordon's  mind,  and 
with  impartial  faithfulness,  will  be  the  simple  pur- 
pose and  purport  of  what  follows  ;  and  it  is  our 
hope  that,  in  so  doing,  thei  e  may  be  presented  a 
commentary  on  this  dream  ;  and,  what  is  even 
more  valuable,  an  outline  portrait,  at  least,  of  the 
man  who  is  to  be  recognized  as  among  the  richest 
gifts  bestowed  by  the  Father  of  us  all  upon  the 
church  of  this  illustrious  century  ;  and  whose 
character  and  influence,  all  who  best  knew  him 
desire  to  perpetuate  and  reproduce  in  the  history 
now  making  for  the  august  future. 



O  a  little  deeper  and  you'll  find  the 
emperor,"  said  the  wounded  soldier  of 
Napoleon's  bodyguard,  to  the  surgeon 
probing  for  the  ball.  And  in  the  deepest  soul  of 
Dr.  Gordon  was  the  shrine  of  the  personal  Christ. 
The  genius  of  his  whole  godliness  was  found  in 
this  personal  bond.  He  was  jealous  of  truth  of 
which  all  sound  doctrine  is  the  crystallization,  and 
all  true  life  the  incarnation  ;  but  to  him  the  living 
Christ  was  the  Truth,  and  no  mere  creed  could 
satisfy  the  soul  that  longed  for  a  person  to  believe 
and  love  ;  and  error  was  repugnant  mainly 
because  it  meant  a  denial,  or  at  least  a  dishonor, 
of  Christ  the  divine  Teacher. 

This  personal  center  of  the  gospel  and  of  the 
new  life  explains  all  that  is  otherwise  mysterious 
about  this  man  of  God.  His  conversion  was  his 
turning  toward  Christ  as  his  Saviour  and  Lord. 
He  believed  the  message  that  God  gave  of  his 
Son,  that  in  him  is  life  everlasting,  and  that  whoso- 
ever believeth  in  him  shall  not  perish,  nor  come 
into  judgment,  but  is  passed  from  death  unto  life. 


LOYALTY    TO    THE    PERSON    OF    CHRIST        lOI 

If  he  was  not  troubled  with  doubts  about  his  own 
salvation,  it  was  because  he  had  learned,  once  for 
all,  that  the  ground  of  hope  is  not  internal,  but 
external  ;  not  within  us,  but  without  us  ;  not  in 
any  merit  or  works  or  feelings  of  our  own,  but  in 
the  perfect  obedience  and  vicarious  suffering  of 
our  great  Substitute  and  Saviour.  Instead  of  try- 
ing, he  found  peace  in  trusting,  looking  away  to 
Jesus,  as  the  Author  and  Perfecter  of  his  faith. 

It  was  said  of  Matthew  Henry  that,  "  when  he 
lacked  the  faith  of  assurance,  he  lived  by  the  faith 
of  adherence."  He,  of  whom  we  write,  talked 
little  of  the  assurance  of  faith,  yet  he  never 
seemed  to  be  darkened  by  doubt,  because  he 
walked  in  the  light  by  the  faith  of  adherence, 
which  became  to  him  the  faith  of  assurance  by 
unconscious  transfer.  When  the  hand  has  hold 
of  another's  hand,  it  is  hard  to  doubt  that  other's 
presence  ;  and  if  we  thought  less  of  our  own 
assurance,  and  looked  more  to  the  mainten- 
ance of  an  assured  and  uninterrupted  fellowship 
with  a  personal  Saviour,  we  should  know  that  we 
are  in  him  and  he  in  us  by  the  Spirit  which  he 
hath  given  us,  and  by  the  constant  and  conscious 
touch  of  holy  contact. 

There  is  such  a  thing  as  Isaac  Taylor,  in  one 
of  his  chapters  on  "Holy  Living,"  calls  the 
"  Practice  of  the  Presence  of  God."  "  Lo,  I  am 
with  you  always,  even  unto  the  end  of  the  age," 
says    the    omnipresent  Master  ;    and  there  is  no 


greater  need  than  that  this  presence  shall  be  recog- 
nized and  felt.  It  cannot  be  detected  by  the 
physical  senses,  for  it  is  not  a  sensible  fact.  But, 
to  him  who  cultivates  the  sensibility  to  the  unseen 
and  exercises  his  inner  senses  to  discern  good  and 
evil,  the  reality  of  the  presence  of  Christ  may 
become  as  indisputable  as  anything  demonstrable 
by  the  bodily  organs. 

Such  communion  with  a  personal  Christ  assim- 
ilates character  to  his  likeness.  "  Beholding  as 
in  a  glass  the  glory  of  the  Lord,  we  are  changed 
into  the  same  image  from  glory  to  glory." 

The  rapid  transformation  of  Dr.  Gordon  into 
the  resemblance  of  Christ  was  patent  to  all 
observers,  most  of  all  to  those  who  most  closely 
observed  him  and  best  knew  him.  In  the  home, 
where  it  is  most  difficult  to  show  piety,  his  piety 
not  only  was  shown  but  it  shone.  Nearness  of 
approach  often  dissipates  the  charm  that  invests 
others  ;  but  no  one  felt  such  absolute  confidence 
in  his  genuineness  and  godliness  as  those  who  had 
most  chance  to  detect  the  faults  and  the  blemishes 
in  his  character. 

Our  Brother  Gordon  combined  the  Pauline  and 
the  Johannean  temperaments  in  one,  the  active 
and  the  reflective  ;  the  combination  is  rare,  and 
implies  an  equally  rare  type  of  character.  Again, 
he  blended  to  an  unusual  degree  the  intellectual 
and  the  afifectional.  Most  men  whose  minds  are 
so    intense    as    his,    lack    heart-qualities  ;    they 

LOYALTY    TO    THE    PERSON    OF    CHRIST        I03 

impress  others  as  cold,  giving  out  light  but  not 
heat,  and  so  having  little  drawing  power.  This 
man  beamed  with  the  warmth  of  sunshine.  You 
could  bask  in  hi3  rays.  There  was  about  him  a 
benignity,  a  benevolence,  that  compelled  recogni- 
tion. Much  as  he  was  admired,  he  was  most 
of  all  loved. 

All  this  was  a  result  of  the  intense  love  he  bore 
to  the  person  of  Christ.  Had  he  simply  studied 
Christianity  as  a  system  of  truth,  he  might  have 
been  a  righteous  man,  exhibiting  a  cold  conformity 
to  righteousness,  as  a  marble  statue,  rigidly  sym- 
metrical and  frigidly  exact,  conforms  to  the  stand- 
ards of  art.  But  it  was  only  when,  penetrating 
beyond  all  mere  doctrine,  he  found  the  person  of 
Christ  and  fixed  on  him  his  gaze  of  adoring  love, 
that  he  became  the  good  man,  and,  like  his  Master, 
went  about  doing  good,  attracting  to  himself  such 
devotion  that  for  him  hundreds  would  even  have 
dared  to  die. 

This  generation  has  furnished  no  other  man, 
personally  known  to  me,  who  in  these  respects  so 
resembled  Dr.  Gordon,  as  did  Theodor  Christlieb, 
of  Bonn.  Born  in  1833  and  dying  in  1889,  in 
his  fifty-seventh  year,  his  life  had  run  over  almost 
the  same  length  of  time  and  cycle  of  history,  and 
his  views  of  truth  were  strikingly  like  those  of  his 
American  contemporary,  even  to  such  minute 
matters  as  divine  healing  and  the  Lord's  coming  ; 
and,  like  his   American   brother,  he  could  say  at 


the  last,  "  I  have  not  for  an  instant  ever  had  the 
slightest  doubt  that  I  am  an  accepted  sinner,  and, 
if  I  have  to  take  leave  of  all  else,  I  shall  never 
have  to  part  from  thee,  my  Saviour."  Christlieb 
also  sought  to  train  students  for  the  work  of  evan- 
gehsm,  and  had  the  keenest  interest  in  missions, 
as  his  well-known  book  on  the  subject  attests. 
He  was  the  opponent  of  rationalistic  criticism, 
affirming  that  the  one  key  to  the  word  of  God  is 
not  found  in  commentaries  nor  in  the  study  of  the 
original  text,  but  can  be  given  only  by  the  Holy 
Spirit  of  God  in  answer  to  prayer.  He,  like  Dr. 
Gordon,  revered  the  pietists  who  had  kept  alive 
the  slumbering  embers  of  piety  and  missions  amid 
the  deadness  of  almost  universal  rationalism  and 
skepticism.  But  most  of  all  did  these  two  men 
resemble  each  other  in  the  blending  of  the  active 
temperament  of  Paul  with  the  reflective  tempera- 
ment of  John,  and  in  that  intense  loyalty  to  the 
person  of  Christ  which  made  all  other  attrac- 
tions fade  and  pale  in  his  presence,  as  the  stars 
retire  at  dawning  of  the  day. 

To  a  man,  whose  central  passion  was  thus 
absorbed  on  the  Christ  of  God,  and  who  was  accus- 
tomed to  put  Jesus  before  him  in  daily  life,  as  the 
engrossing  object  of  enamoring  love,  the  standard 
of  all  excellence,  the  model  for  all  imitation,  the 
final  Judge  whose  approval  is  the  only  verdict 
to  be  valued,  it  is  not  strange  that  a  dream 
should    crystallize     about    his    divine    Lord,   and 

LOYALTY    TO    THE    PERSON    OF    CHRIST        I05 

that  the  supreme  question  which  that  dream 
suggested  was,  ' '  What  would  Christ  say  if  he 
came   to   church  ?  ' ' 



HERE  are  three  mountain  peaks  in  the 
landscape  of  biblical  history  and  proph- 
ecy, and  each  represents  an  advent. 
First,  the  advent  of  the  first  Adam,  in  the  crea- 
tion ;  secondly,  the  advent  of  the  Second  Adam, 
in  his  incarnation  ;  and  thirdly,  the  second  advent 
of  the  Son  of  Man  and  Son  of  God,  at  his  final 
revelation.  Each  of  these  peaks  presents  a  double 
prominence  ;  for  the  creation  of  man  is  associ- 
ated with  his  fall,  the  incarnation  of  Christ  with 
his  death,  and  the  second  coming  of  Christ  with 
his  reign. 

Between  the  first  and  second  of  these  advents, 
stands  one  simple  object,  an  altar  of  sacrifice 
fronting  both  ways  and  linking  the  two  :  for  every 
victim  that  bled  and  burned  on  the  altar  pointed 
backward  to  the  sin  of  Adam  and  forward  to  the 
coming  Lamb  of  God.  And  between  the  second 
and  third  of  these  advents,  the  incarnation  and  the 
final  revelation  of  Christ,  stands  likewise  one  sim- 
ple object — the  Table  of  the  Lord,  that  likewise 
points  both  ways   and    links  the  two  :    for,    "As 


often  as  ye  eat  this  bread,  and  drink  this  cup,  ye 
do  shew  the  Lord" s  death  till  he  come.''' 

There  is  something  very  beautiful  about  the 
simple  faith  that  accepts  the  mystery  of  biblical 
teaching  without  hesitation,  even  where  it  defies 
penetration  and  explanation.  Dr.  Gordon  was 
one  of  the  giants  of  his  day.  Few  men  have 
minds  more  colossal  in  stature  and  more  Titanic 
in  grasp.  Yet  he  bowed  meekly  to  Scripture 
teaching,  even  where  reason  could  not  explore. 
The  doctrine  of  the  Lord's  second  coming,  with 
the  august  events  attendant  upon  it,  such  as  the 
first  resurrection  of  the  sleeping  saints  and  the 
rapture  of  living  saints,  the  development  and 
destruction  of  antichrist,  the  conversion  of  the 
Jews  and  the  personal  reign  of  the  Son  of  God, 
the  apostasy  of  the  church,  etc.,  presented  to  his 
mind  difficulties  and  even  discrepancies  which  his 
reason  could  neither  unravel  nor  reconcile.  But, 
having  satisfied  himself  that  the  Bible  is  the  word 
of  God,  he  had  no  further  question  than  this  : 
What  does  the  Bible  teach  ?  And  as  he  found 
this  truth  lying  on  the  very  surface  of  the  word  of 
God,  it  would  have  been  an  irreverent  rationalism 
either  to  refuse  to  receive  it  or  to  attempt  by  a 
tortuous  exegesis  to  explain  it  away. 

Inseparable  from  this  biblical  authority  and 
prominence  of  this  truth  was  its  naturalness,  as 
the  completion  and  consummation  of  the  divine 
plan.     There    is    an    unpublished    and    probably 


unwritten  lecture  of  Dr.  Gordon's,  on  the  "Plan 
of  the  Ages,"  which  those  who  heard  it  regard  as 
one  of  the  most  masterly  products  of  his  study 
of  the  word,  and  in  which  he  set  forth  the  divine 
teaching  as  to  the  providential  purpose  exhibited 
in  the  course  of  history.  In  the  Epistle  to  the 
Hebrews  we  find  the  grand  conception  that  God 
made  the  "time  worlds"  (nluva)  as  he  did  the 
matter  worlds,  and  framed  them  together  like  the 
joints  of  a  body  or  the  beams  of  a  house  ;  in  this 
study  of  the  ages  Dr.  Gordon  carefully  traced  the 
teaching  of  the  word  of  God  as  to  these  suc- 
cessive periods  of  history.  He  divided  them  into 
three  :  the  Age  of  Preparation,  the  present  Gos- 
pel Age  of  Ingathering,  and  the  Age  of  Consum- 
mation ;  or  the  age  before  Christ,  the  age  from 
his  first  to  his  second  coming,  and  the  millennial 
age.  In  a  marvelous  way  he  then  proceeded  to 
show  how  all  prophecies,  precepts,  and  other 
teachings  of  the  word  fall  into  their  appropriate 
place  when  their  relations  to  these  three  ages  are 
understood  ;  how  countless  difficulties  are  relieved 
and  countless  errors  avoided,  so  soon  as  God's 
plans  are  rightly  conceived.  With  the  skill  of  a 
master,  he  then  showed  how,  the  moment  that 
which  is  characteristic  of  the  preparatory  legal 
and  Jewish  age  is  imported  into  the  gospel  age,  or 
what  belongs  in  this  present  evil  age  is  transferred 
over  into  the  age  to  come,  or  reversely,  we  turn 
cosmos   into    chaos,  and   get   everything  out  of 


order  into  confusion.  A  very  intelligent  hearer 
remarked,  after  a  delivery  of  this  grand  address  : 
' '  Why  you  have  just  found  a  pigeon-hole  for  every 
text,''  and  this  well  describes  the  practical  effect 
of  this  study  of  the  dispensational  history  of 
redemption.  To  Dr.  Gordon  the  whole  subject 
of  the  Lord's  coming,  however  mysterious,  seemed 
only  the  most  natural  event  possible  as  the  con- 
clusion and  consummation  of  the  plan  and  history 
of  redemption.  The  advent  of  man  to  this  globe 
was  also  the  signal  for  the  disaster  of  sin  and  the 
ruin  of  the  race.  To  repair  this  ruin  the 
Redeemer  came,  but  in  disguise.  It  can  now  be 
seen  that  such  disguise  was  essential  to  his  mission, 
for  had  he  come  otherwise,  he  could  not  have 
accomplished  his  holy  errand.  Humiliation  was 
necessary  in  order  to  vicarious  atonement,  for  the 
Second  Adam  must  be  identified  with  the  sin, 
sorrow,  and  misery  of  the  race.  He  must  be  born 
of  a  woman,  made  under  the  law,  "a  man  of 
sorrows  and  acquainted  with  grief."  He  must  by 
his  poverty  and  obscurity  be  identified  with  the 
lowest  and  the  least,  else  how  could  he  represent 
humanity  as  such  ;  he  must  be  made  sin  for  us, 
and  suffer  as  a  malefactor.  All  this  implied  an 
emptying  of  self — a  making  himself  of  no  reputa- 
tion, an  obedience  unto  death.  But  surely  this 
cannot  be  the  end,  the  final  manifestation  of  the 
Son  of  God.  And  so  the  word  of  God  plainly 
reveals  another  advent,  not  in  shame  but  in  glory, 


not  in  disguise  but  in  his  essential  investment,  as 
the  King  of  kings,  with  his  proper  royal  retinue — 
the  natural  necessary  consummation  of  the  divine 
drama,  the  true  revelation  of  the  Son  of  God. 

And  the  "  blessed  hope  "  has  thus  the  highest 
prominence  in  the  Scripture  ;  it  is  revealed  as  the 
golden  milestone  toward  which  all  events  point 
and  all  roads  tend.  All  good  waits  to  find  in  his 
second  appearing,  his  true  epiphany,  its  comple- 
tion and  consummation.  All  that  is  best  in  human 
history  is  but  the  foretaste  or  first-fruits  of  which 
this  is  to  be  the  harvest.  The  conquest  of  sin, 
now  individual  and  occasional  and  exceptional, 
is  then  to  be  general,  wide-spread,  and  final. 
Now,  Satan,  though  resisted  by  saints,  is  yet  at 
large  working  disaster  to  the  race  ;  then,  he  is  to 
be  bound  and  finally  burned — consigned  to  the 
lake  of  fire.  The  Holy  Spirit,  now  shed  abun- 
dantly on  believers,  is  to  be  poured  out  on  all 
flesh.  Evangelism,  now  like  a  river,  with  many 
little  rills  that  reach  far  into  the  deserts  and  here 
and  there  turn  wastes  into  gardens,  shall  then 
cover  the  earth  with  a  flood  as  the  sea  does  its 
bed.  Now  we  see  the  outgathering  of  the  elect 
from  all  nations  :  God  visiting  the  Gentiles  to  take 
out  of  them  a  people  for  his  name  :  then  the  very 
kingdoms  of  this  world  are  to  become  the  kingdom 
of  the  Lord  Christ. 

Christ's  coming  is  to  introduce  events  and 
developments  of  almost  unprecedented  character. 


such  as  the  resurrection  of  sleeping  saints,  the  res- 
toration of  Israel,  the  universal  exaltation  of  God's 
anointed  King,  the  final  triumph  of  godhness,  the 
judgment  of  God's  enemies,  and  the  reward  of  his 

Surely  if  the  Bible  did  not  reveal  this  as  the 
ultimate  outcome  of  the  great  historic  ages,  it 
would  seem  the  most  consistent  and  natural  cul- 
mination and  consummation  of  the  redemptive 
scheme.  This  is  the  ' '  blessed  hope  ' '  toward  which 
for  many  years  our  departed  brother  looked  with 
unspeakable  longing  as  the  crown  of  all  other  hopes. 

That  which  pre-eminently  marks  the  Scripture 
teaching  as  to  our  Lord's  second  coming,  is  its 
inwiinence,  or  the  combination  of  certainty  at 
some  time  with  uncertainty  at  what  time.  And 
our  Lord  himself  made  this  imminence  the  main 
incentive  to  vigilance  and  diligence:  "Watch, 
therefore,  for  ye  know  neither  the  day  nor  the 
hour  wherein  the  Son  of  man  cometh."  To  refer 
this  to  death  is  to  violate  the  simplest  laws  of 
exegesis  and  upset  the  whole  science  of  hermen- 
eutics.  Such,  and  similar  expressions  can  refer 
to  nothing  less  than  the  personal  return  of  the  Son 
of  Man,  to  assume  the  sceptre  and  mount  the 
throne  toward  which  all  prophecy  and  promise 
look.  And  as  Dr.  Gordon  often  said,  there  is  not 
a  virtue  or  grace  in  the  whole  circle  or  chorus  of 
Christian  attainments  that  is  not  in  the  Scripture 
connected  expressly  with  this  blessed  hope. 


This  dream,  therefore,  not  unnaturally  pictures 
the  Son  of  Man  as  coming  suddenly  to  his  temple 
— unexpectedly  appearing  in  the  midst  of  his  people 
to  test,  as  with  refiner's  fire,  the  service  of  his 
saints,  as  to  whether  or  not  it  is  an  offering  in 



HERE  is  one  calling  which  especially 
deserves  the  name  of  the  "High  call- 
ing of  God  in  Christ  Jesus,"  namely, 
that  of  the  preacher  of  the  gospel.  He  who,  from 
this  divine  vocation,  goes  into  any  other,  though 
it  be  to  occupy  the  throne  of  a  world  empire,  steps 
down  to  a  lower  level.  The  piety  and  purity  of  a 
Christian  community  will  therefore  be  found  to  be 
in  exact  proportion  to  the  intelligent  respect  and 
reverence  in  which  the  office  of  the  minister  of 
Christ  is  held,  and  by  which  it  is  magnified. 

Paul  to  the  Ephesian  elders,^  gives  the  five-fold 
aspect  of  this  office  of  the  preacher  and  teacher  : 
First,  it  is  a  ministry  of  the  Lord  Jesus,  of  whom 
he  is  a  disciple  and  ambassador  ;  secondly,  it  is  a 
ministry  of  the  gospel  of  the  grace  of  God,  of  which 
he  is  a  herald  and  witness  ;  third,  it  is  a  ministry 
of  the  kingdom  of  God,  in  which  he  is  a  subject 
and  representative  ;  fourth,  it  is  a  ministry  of  the 
church  of  God,  in  which  he  is  a  servant  and  shep- 

1  Acts  20:  24-28. 
8  113 


herd  ;  fifth,  a  ministry  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  of  whom 
he  is  an  ensample,  and  overseer  or  bishop. 

To  Dr.  Gordon  the  holy  vocation  was  thus 
invested  with  this  manifold  opportunity  and  obli- 
gation, exalted  privilege  and  commensurate 
responsibility.  To  fulfile  these  high  functions, 
three  things  were  pre-eminently  needful  :  that  the 
word  of  Christ  should  dwell  in  him  richly,  that 
Christ  himself  should  abide  in  him,  and  that  he 
should  be  filled  with  the  Spirit.  Hence  he  sought 
to  know  the  word  thoroughly  as  his  text-book,  to 
know  Christ  as  his  personal  Saviour,  and  to  know 
the  Holy  Spirit  as  his  indwelling  Guide. 

He  was,  as  became  a  preacher  of  the  word,  a 
man  of  clear  and  firm  convictions.  If  physiog- 
nomy is  any  index  of  character,  there  was  no 
mistaking  the  meaning  of  that  large  head,  high, 
broad  brow,  firmly  set  lower  jaw.  It  needed  no 
exceptionally  keen  observer  to  detect  and  predict 
the  intellectual  capacity,  intelligent  habit,  and 
courageous  conviction,  of  which  such  signs  were 
hung  out  by  nature  herself.  And  the  signs  were 
not  misleading,  for  he  lacked  neither  mental 
power,  nor  clear  vision  of  truth,  and  tenacious 
hold  upon  it. 

But  this  devout  man  of  God  had  learned  that 
it  is  not  enough  that  one  hold  the  truth,  if  the 
truth  hold  not  him.  "  Teneo  et  Teneor.'"  How 
grand  the  significance  of  the  metaphor  in  the 
Epistle  to  the   Ephesians,  which  represents  truth 


as  the  girdle  of  the  warrior  Christian — the  very- 
zone  that,  grasping  the  vital  parts,  holds  all  the 
other  pieces  of  armor  in  place  !  But  let  us  not 
lose  sight  of  the  fact  that  the  minister  of  Christ 
must  also  know  his  Master,  the  living  Word. 

Thackeray  sagaciously  hints  that  there  is  a  law 
of  spiritual  harvest  ;  we  sow  a  thought  and  reap 
an  act ;  sow  an  act  and  reap  a  habit  ;  sow  a  habit 
and  reap  a  character  ;  sow  a  character  and  reap 
a  destiny.  A  character  like  that  of  Dr.  Gordon  is 
a  whole  history  brought  to  light  ;  it  tells  of  habits 
of  life,  of  thought  as  well  as  conduct,  of  a  secret 
communion  with  God  in  the  closet  which  shows  its 
fruit  and  has  its  reward  openly.  Charles  Lamb 
satirizes  the  man  who  vainly  persuades  himself 
that  he  can  eat  garlic  in  secret  and  not  smell  of  it 
pubHcly.  No  man  can  walk  with  God  in  secret 
and  cultivate  the  acquaintance  of  the  unseen 
Christ,  without  character  becoming  radiant,  until 
even  his  face  will  shine  though  he  knows  it  not. 
Hence  a  minister  is  not  only  to  be  a  herald  but  a 
witness.  He  is  to  tell  what  he  knows,  testify  to 
that  which  he  has  tested  and  proved  by  testing, 
and,  because  experience  limits  his  testimony,  he 
must  aim  at  a  constantly  richer  and  deeper 
experience  in  order  to  a  witness  correspondingly 
convincing  and  persuading. 

How  long  will  it  take  us  to  learn  that  power  in 
service  hangs  on  the  height  and  breadth  of  attain- 
ment in  divine  things  ?    A  minister  of  Christ  must 

ii6the  dream  as  interpreting  the  man 

be  like  a  mountain,  soaring  high  Godward  into 
realms  of  unclouded  faith  and  serene  communion  ; 
for  the  higher  his  level,  the  surer  and  ampler  the 
blessing  he  receives  and  conveys.  The  rains 
touch  first  the  hilltops,  and  thence  flow  to  the 
plains  beneath,  and  the  broader  the  hilltops  the 
fuller  and  farther  the  flood.  How  can  a  congrega- 
tion get  a  rich  blessing  from  a  pastor  who  does 
not  live  on  a  high  level  ?  I'he  pastorates  which 
have  been  most  widely  useful  prove  beyond  doubt 
that  he  who,  in  the  holy  office,  aspires  to  power, 
intense,  extensive,  pervasive,  permanent,  must 
first  of  all  live  close  to  God,  and  touch  the  very 
heart  of  Christ.  He  must  hear  by  the  ear  in  the 
closet  what  he  is  to  proclaim  with  the  tongue  from 
the  housetops.  The  higher  the  altitude,  the  richer 
the  quality  of  the  life  and  the  life-imparting  power. 
Fellowship  with  God  is  not  to  be  sought  only  as  a 
means  to  an  end,  for  it  is  itself  the  end  to  which 
all  means  must  contribute  ;  but,  when  it  is  so 
sought  and  cultivated  for  its  own  sake  and  so 
found  and  felt  as  a  fact  of  consciousness,  he  who 
enjoys  such  fellowship  becomes  the  fountain  of 
untold  blessing  to  the  church  and  the  world. 

Andrew  Bonar,  of  Glasgow,  shortly  before  his 
death,  recorded  this  precious  testimony:  that  from 
the  time  of  his  conversion,  sixty  years  before,  he 
had  not  passed  a  day  when  he  lost  access  to  the 
mercy-seat.  Is  it  strange  if  he  felt  the  power  of 
Christ,  as  Paul  said,  canopying  him,  like  the  cur- 


tains  of  a  tent  ?  ^  The  man  who  thus  lives  daily 
with  God  and  in  God,  must  live  by  faith.  At  such 
habitual  heights,  clouds  and  mists  are  left  below, 
and  the  soul  dwells  in  a  clear  atmosphere.  How 
many  soever  the  promises  of  God,  they  are  all  in 
Christ,  yea,  and  through  him,  amen,  subject  to  no 
discount,  but  like  any  sound  financial  paper,  good 
for  the  full  face  value. 

Our  Brother  Gordon  likewise  received,  by  a 
definite  act  of  submission  and  appropriation,  as 
he  said  to  a  few  intimate  friends,  the  Holy  Spirit 
as  his  guide. 

If  any  wondered  at  the  simple  trust  which  led 
him  to  attempt  great  things  for  God  and  expect 
great  things  from  God,  to  undertake  missions  to 
Jews  and  Gentiles,  drunkards  and  outcasts  ;  to 
build  up  a  training  school  for  evangelists  and  mis- 
sionaries, and  venture  on  God  for  the  supply  of 
every  need,  and,  like  Pastor  Gossner  at  sixty  years 
of  age,  stop  ringing  human  door  bells  and  knock 
only  at  heaven's  gate — the  solution  is  simple  :  all 
this  mystery  is  unlocked  by  this  one  key — an 
elevated  Hfe  of  godliness,  which  can  be  under- 
stood by  none  who  hve  on  a  low  level,  and  a 
complete  surrender  to  the  Holy  Spirit  to  be  only 
a  passive  instrument  in  his  hands.  Dr.  Gordon 
lived  near  enough  to  God  to  catch  his  own  Spirit, 
which  is  love,  unselfish,  self-imparting  love — that 
"royal  law,"  or  principle  of  life,  nobler  than  any 

iiSthe  dream  as  interpreting  the  man 

mere  emotion  or  affection — which  gives,  gives  all, 
and  gives  to  all.  Hence  he  not  only  preached  the 
gospel  to  all  he  could  reach,  but  he  was  essentially 
a  missionary,  for  the  Spirit  of  Christ  is  the  spirit 
of  missions.  Foreign  missions  took  passionate 
hold  upon  him  because,  like  the  love  of  God,  they 
reach  out  toward  those  most  distant  and  most  des- 
titute. His  interest  in  the  heathen,  so  far  off,  so 
needy,  was  largely  involuntary.  Because  he  was 
led  of  the  Spirit  and  taught  of  the  Spirit,  he  loved 
as  God  loves,  and  could  no  more  limit  his  benev- 
olent affection  or  beneficent  activity  to  those  near 
by  him,  than  a  full  mountain  stream  could  deter- 
mine to  flow  only  so  far.  If  there  is  but  Httle 
water  that  fact  sets  a  bound  beyond  which  the 
stream  cannot  pass  ;  but  the  fuller  and  mightier 
the  current,  the  broader  the  channel  and  the 
farther  the  onflow.  Imagine  the  sun  bidding  his 
own  beams  bless  only  the  nearest  planets,  and  let 
Uranus  and  Neptune  be  bound  in  eternal  night 
and  ice  !  A  Holy  Ghost  man  never  bounds  his 
own  effort  by  narrow  limits,  or  by  any  limits. 
Rivers  of  living  water  flow  from  him  and  rays  of 
divine  light  emanate  from  him,  and  to  both  there 
is  no  limit  but  the  limits  of  human  need. 

The  ambassador  of  Christ  is  so  identified  with 
his  Sovereign  that  he  may  not  only  ask  but  claim 
his  promised  presence. 

It  is  said  by  Williams  of  Wern,  of  Gryffyth,  the 
Welsh  preacher,  that  having  to  preach  one  night 


he  asked  to  be  allowed  to  withdraw  for  a  time 
before  the  service  began,  and  remained  so  long 
that  the  good  man  of  the  house  felt  constrained  to 
send  his  servant  to  request  him  to  come  and  meet 
the  waiting  congregation.  As  she  came  near  the 
room  she  heard  what  seemed  to  be  an  indication 
of  conversation  between  two  parties,  and,  though 
in  a  subdued  tone  of  voice,  she  caught  the  words  : 
"/will  not  go  unless  you  come  with  me."  She 
returned  and  reported  to  her  master  :  "  I  do  not 
think  Mr.  Gryffyth  will  come  to-night  ;  some  one 
is  there  with  him,  and  I  heard  him  say  that  he  will 
not  come  unless  the  other  will  come  also,  but  I 
did  not  hear  the  other  reply,  and  so  I  think  Mr. 
Gryffyth  will  not  come  either."  The  farmer, 
understanding  the  true  case,  replied:  "Yes,  he 
will  come  and  I  warrant  the  other  will  come  too, 
if  matters  are  as  you  say  between  them  ;  but  we 
would  better  begin  singing  and  reading  until  the 
two  do  come."  And  sure  enough  when  Gryffyth 
made  his  appearance  there  was  another  who  came 
with  him,  came  with  him  in  power,  and  that 
proved  a  pentecostal  meeting  when  many  found 
newness  of  life. 

The  ambassador  of  Christ  has  a  right  to  insist 
reverently  on  Jiis  sovereign  Master's  unseen  pres- 
ence and  manifested  power.  How  significant  that 
prayer  in  the  assembly  of  the  early  church,  when, 
going  out  from  the  threatening  council  to  their 
own    company,    the    apostles    with    one    accord 


besought  God:  "And  now,  Lord,  behold  their 
threatenings  :  and  grant  unto  thy  servants,  that 
with  all  boldness  they  may  speak  thy  word,  by 
stretching  forth  thine  hand  to  heal  ;  and  that  signs 
and  wonders  may  be  done  by  the  name  of  thy 
holy  child  Jesus"  !^  Nothing  takes  away  bold- 
ness in  testimony  to  the  Lord  like  the  lack  of  his 
co-witness  in  his  mighty  works.  He  loves  the 
reverent  confidence  that  says,  "I  will  not  go 
unless  thou  go  with  me."  If  we  are  about  our 
Father's  business,  we  have  a  right  to  say  :  "  And 
he  that  sent  me  is  with  me." 

1  Acts  4  :  29,  30. 



AUL  gives  three  marks  of  the  true  ' '  cir- 
cumcision ' '  ;  and  the  first  of  all  is  this  : 
the  worship  of  God  in  the  Spirit.^ 

These  are  days  of  especial  peril  from  ritualism 
and  formalism.  This,  which  is  the  leaven  of  the 
Pharisees,  is  perhaps  as  dangerous  as  the  leaven 
of  the  Sadducees,  which  is  rationalism,  or  of  the 
Herodians,  which  is  secularism.  Whenever,  in 
the  ages  of  church  history,  spiritual  worship  has 
decHned,  a  formal  devotion  or  at  best  a  devout 
formalism  has  taken  its  place,  and  the  forms  of 
worship  have  multiplied  in  direct  proportion  to  the 
lack  of  spirituality  in  worship.  And  so  there  are 
many  who  live  close  to  God  to  whom  the  modern 
multiplication  of  ceremonies  and  rites  is  an  utter 

An  aged  and  venerable  clergyman  of  the 
Anglican  church,  importuned  by  his  son — who 
had  run  off  into  the  extreme  of  a  Romanizing 
ritualism — to  preach  in  his  "chapel  of  ease,"  at 
last  reluctantly  consented,  but  startled  the  congre- 

^  Phil.  3  :  3. 


gation  by  announcing  as  his  text,  "Lord,  have 
mercy  upon  my  son,  for  he  is  a  lunatic,"  and  then 
proceeded  to  show  the  utter  lunacy  of  modern 
methods  by  which  worship  is  robbed  of  all  its 
primitive  simplicity,  of  which  an  elaborate  cere- 
monialism takes  the  place. 

At  an  early  period  in  Dr.  Gordon's  ministry, 
he  began  to  turn  his  attention  to  the  matter  of 
public  worship.  The  Saxon  word  itself  gives  us  a 
most  important  hint,  —  worth-ship,  —  ascribing 
worth  to  God,  describing  his  worth  in  terms  most 
fitting  and  honoring  to  him,  inscribing  that  worth 
on  the  door-posts  and  gates  of  his  sanctuary  not 
only,  but  on  the  gates  and  door-posts  of  our  own 
dwellings,  and  the  expanse  of  our  brows,  and  the 
palms  of  our  hands,  as  something  to  be  constantly 
borne  in  mind. 

The  one  supreme  law  of  worship  is  this  : 
"  The  Lord  alone  shall  be  exalted.''  He  is  a 
divinely  jealous  God,  in  that  he  will  have  no 
superior  or  even  rival  in  the  affections  of  his 
people  ;  he  will  not  tolerate  even  as  a  medium  of 
approach  to  him,  anything  whereby  our  thought 
and  love  are  diverted  from  him.  The  ancient 
altar  was  to  be  of  unhewn  stone,  lest  the  art 
expended  in  its  adornment  by  the  sculptor's  chisel, 
might  draw  eyes  from  the  vicarious  victim  that  lay 
upon  it.  And  so,  in  the  house  of  worship,  any- 
thing whatever  which  intrudes  itself  between  the 
human  soul  and  the  object  of  worship  is  a   fatal 


hindrance  to  the  worshiper  and  a  positive  offense 
to  God.  Simplicity  is  of  necessity  the  law  of 
purity  in  worship,  for  it  is  the  condition  of  single- 
ness of  mind.  Elaboration,  which  is  both  the 
handmaid  and  offspring  of  art,  may  easily  become 
idolatrous  by  introducing  a  type  and  style  and 
standard  of  eloquence  in  oratory,  of  worldly 
excellence  in  music,  of  aesthetics  in  architecture, 
garniture,  and  furniture,  which  defeat  the  main 
purpose  for  which  worship  is  instituted,  namely, 
the  exaltation  of  God  alone  before  the  fixed  gaze 
of  the  soul. 

This  Boston  pastor  saw  and  felt  what  thousands 
seem  unable  to  appreciate,  or  even  apprehend, 
that  it  is  not  hostility  to  artistic  perfection,  but 
jealousy  for  spirituality,  which  inspires  the  purg- 
ing of  worship  from  secular  attractions.  No  man 
who  knew  the  pastor  of  Clarendon  Street  Church 
could  accuse  him  of  antagonism  or  indifference  to 
the  beautiful,  whether  in  form  or  color  or  sound. 
He  was  no  cast-iron  utilitarian.  But  he  felt  the 
supreme  need  of  a  type  of  worship  consistent  with 
its  divine  conception  and  answering  to  its  scrip- 
tural purpose.  How  could  a  choir  of  unconverted 
singers  make  melody  in  their  hearts  unto  the 
Lord,  or  inspire  holy  harmony  in  worshipers  ? 
How  could  a  musical  performance  on  the  part  of 
mere  artists,  hired  at  costly  prices,  fulfill  the  high 
demands  of  public  praise  ?  He  felt,  and  to  this 
end  he  particularly  wrought,  that  the  hands  which 


touch  the  organ  keys,  or  the  voices  which  sing 
psalms  and  hymns  and  spiritual  songs,  should  be 
themselves  at  the  disposal  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  and 
usable  as  his  instruments.  Moreover,  he  felt  that 
all  worship  must  be  marked  by  unity  of  impres- 
sion. Hence  a  mere  musical  programme,  arranged 
for  artistic  effect,  without  reference  to  harmony 
with  the  truth  presented,  and  with  other  parts  of 
worship,  is  an  anomaly  and  absurdity. 

This  philosophy  of  worship  he  consistently  car- 
ried out.  It  affected  his  preaching.  He  had 
early  begun  to  study  oratory  as  an  art,  and  his 
aim  and  ambition  were  to  excel  in  public  address. 
The  sermon  was  to  be  an  ideal  product,  a  finished 
work  of  brain  and  pen,  delivered  with  grace  and 
skill.  But  he  found  before  long,  that  there  is  as 
much  risk  to  the  preacher  in  exalting  preaching  to 
a  fine  art,  as  there  is  to  the  singer  in  idolizing  the 
aesthetic  element  in  sacred  song.  To  preach  with 
wisdom  of  words  has  often  made  the  Cross  of  none 
effect  by  hiding  the  crucified  and  glorified  Christ 
behind  the  veil  of  human  eloquence  ;  and  not 
until  that  elaborate  and  embroidered  curtain  is 
rent  in  twain  from  top  to  bottom,  will  the  glory  of 
God  be  revealed.  It  is  possible  to  obscure  the 
object  of  adoration  by  the  very  clouds  of  incense 
with  which  we  surround  him  ;  to  worship  God  with 
forms  and  methods  which  call  so  much  attention 
to  themselves  as  to  forfeit  all  transparency  and 
surround   him  with  the  opaque  smoke  from  our 


own  censers.  The  mere  art  of  the  apothecary  has 
too  much  to  do  with  compounding  our  incense, 
and  in  it  are  mingled  too  many  earthly  ingre- 
dients ;  there  is  too  much  smoke  and  too  little 

Worship,  in  its  wider  scope,  takes  in  all  church 
conduct,  even  to  the  attitude  of  the  worshiper, 
physical,  mental,  moral,  spiritual.  And  the  one 
law  to  keep  before  us,  is  this  :  ' '  See  that  thou 
make  all  things  according  to  the  pattern  shewed 
to  thee  in  the  mount  (Heb.  8  :  5).  Whatever 
is  unscriptural  is  generally  found  to  be  unspiritual. 
The  only  way  of  avoiding  a  Romanizing  ritual  is 
to  avert  from  our  worship  what  is  not  enjoined  or 
encouraged  in  the  word  of  God.  The  spectacular 
involves  risk,  for  it  absorbs  the  attention  through 
the  eye  ;  and  the  artistically  musical,  for  it  absorbs 
attention  through  the  ear  ;  whatever  draws 
thought  from  God,  hinders  worship  ;  whatever 
tends  to  lift  him  to  sole  prominence,  by  so  much 
helps  worship.  And  it  is  not  too  much  to  say 
that  nothing  which  does  not  directly  or  indirectly 
contribute  to  such  exaltation  of  God  has  a  prope?' 
place  in  sanctuary  service.  Prayer  and  praise, 
the  reading  of  the  word  and  the  preaching  of  the 
gospel,  and  even  the  offering  of  consecrated  sub- 
stance, are  all,  therefore,  ways  of  exalting  God, 
because  they  present  man  in  the  attitudes  of  sup- 
pliant and  servant,  student  and  steward,  waiting 
at  his  Lord's  feet. 


How  natural  therefore,  again,  that  our  brother 
in  his  dream  should  searchingly  inquire  what 
would  be  the  verdict  of  his  sovereign  Master  were 
he  to  come  to  church,  as  to  the  reality  or  vanity 
of  the  worship  he  found  there  ! 


F  any  two  characteristics  must  always  be 
inseparably  associated  with  this  devout 
disciple  whose  dream  is  here  recorded, 
they  must  surely  be  his  unshaken  confidence  in 
the  seven-sealed  book  of  God  and  his  personal  sur- 
render to  the  seven-fold  power  of  the  Spirit  of  God. 
As  to  the  book,  that  is  a  remarkable  description, 
or  designation  given  us  in  the  fifth  chapter  of  the 
Apocalypse — the  scroll,  written  within  and  on  the 
back  side,  sealed  with  seven  seals.  What  a  strik- 
ing metaphor  to  express  the  very  handwriting  of 
God  in  the  inspired  volume,  attested  with  the 
seven-fold  seal  of  complete  authority  and  authen- 
ticity, and  so  bearing  the  unmistakable  sanction  of 
the  divine  Author  ! 

The  work  will  bear  the  marks  of  the  workman 
— his  knowledge  and  wisdom,  skill  and  design. 
Moreover,  the  more  perfect  the  workmanship  the 
more  complete  the  exhibition  of  the  character  of 
him  who  thought  out  and  wrought  out  such  per- 
fection of  product.      Now   it   is   very   remarkable 

that  just  such  seven-fold  perfection  is  claimed  for 



the  word  of  God.  We  associate  with  him  who  is 
its  author,  seven  attributes  :  such  as  omnipotence, 
omniscience,  omnipresence — natural  attributes  ; 
and  providence,  truth,  righteousness,  and  love — 
moral  attributes.  All  these  his  word  displays  in  a 
remarkable  manner  and  degree  : 

His  Omnipotence,  in  the  miracles  of  power 
which  it  records. 

His  Omniscience,  in  its  predictive  prophecies. 

His  Omnipresence,  in  its  unity  of  plan  and 

His  Providence,  in  its  history  and  biography. 

His  Truth,  in  its  general  accuracy. 

His  Righteousness,  in  its  faultless  morality. 

His  Love,  in  its  transforming  energy. 

No  survey  of  the  inspired  word  is  complete 
until  it  takes  in  all  these  forms  of  proof  and 
methods  of  attestation  and  authentication.  As  it 
is  of  the  utmost  importance  to  us  to  know  beyond 
doubt  that  the  Bible  is  God's  book,  and  to  repose 
with  absolute  certainty  upon  its  teachings,  God  has 
so  fully  set  his  seal  and  sanction  upon  it  that  no 
reasonable  doubt  remains.  And  it  is  significant 
that  all  these  proofs  of  its  divine  origin  lie  within 
itself,  so  that  we  have  only  to  search  the  Scriptures 
to  find  God's  seven-fold  seal  impressed  on  them 
all  the  way  through. 

A.  J.  (Gordon  was  the  man  of  the  book,  and  of 
the  one  book.  No  man,  perhaps,  of  his  genera- 
tion, has  done  more  in  the  line  of  Christian  apolo^l 

THE    AUTHORITY    OF    THE    WORD    OF    GOD     1 29 

getics,    but    it    was    mostly    by    indirection.      He 
defended  the  Bible  by  expounding  it. 

His  attitude  toward  the  Holy  Scriptures  was 
beautifully  reverent.  To  him  the  Bible  7L>as  a 
livi7ig  book,  not  only  containing  a  divine  message, 
but  divinely  inbreathed,  and  therefore  instinct 
with  the  divine  life.  As  God  first  made  man  out 
of  the  dust  of  the  ground,  and  then  breathed  into 
him  the  breath  of  life,  so  that  man  became  a  liv- 
ing soul,  so,  whatever  was  earthly  and  human  in 
the  book  had  taken  form  and  fashion  under  the 
finger  of  God  and  had  become  living  by  the 
breath  of  his  divine  inspiration.  This  humble 
believer  went  to  the  Bible  not  as  to  a  dead  book, 
but  as  to  a  living  being  ;  he  communed  with  the 
word  as  with  a  person,  and  expected  to  find  in 
such  converse  the  response  to  his  advances  and 
questionings,  and  he  was  not  disap])ointed.  He 
has  often  spoken  of  the  word  of  God  as  giving 
answer,  as  one  prayerfully  searches  it  and  seeks 
guidance  in  doubt,  difficulty,  and  perplexity  ;  and, 
in  common  with  the  most  prayerful  students  of  its 
mysteries,  he  found  the  heavenly  Interpreter 
unfolding  and  applying  its  truths  with  the  skill  of 
a  personal  counsellor. 

Dr.  Gordon  was  not  among  those  who  doubt 
either  the  inspiration  or  infallibility  of  the  divine 
word.  He  believed  that  it  was  essentially  iner- 
rant,  and  when  he  found  difficulties  or  discrep- 
ancies, instead  of  distrusting  the  accuracy  of  the 


divine  oracles,  he  rather  suspected  the  accuracy 
of  his  own  understanding.  He  traced  the  defects, 
not  to  the  objects  seen,  but  to  the  eye  seeing  ;  and 
when  contradiction  was  apparent,  he  waited,  as 
when  the  twin  pictures  of  the  stereoscope  fail  to 
blend,  one  waits  to  get  the  common  focal  center 
of  vision  which  resolves  the  discord  into  harmoni- 
ous unity.  In  other  departments  of  knowledge 
we  understand  in  order  to  believe  ;  but  in  this 
divine  science  of  spiritual  mysteries  we  believe  in 
order  to  understand.  Faith  is  philosophy  here, 
and  obedience  is  the  organ  of  spiritual  vision  : 
"  If  any  man  will  do  his  will  he  shall  know  of  the 
doctrine."  "  If  ye  will  not  believe,  surely  ye 
shall  not  be  established." 

To  this  constant  and  searching  study  of  the 
word  of  God,  our  departed  brother  owed  much  of 
the  energy  and  beauty  of  his  writings. 

In  literary  style  he  revealed  remarkable  power 
in  analysis  and  antithesis,  and  these  are  perhaps 
the  most  conspicious  features  of  his  composition. 
He  saw  truth  in  itself  and  its  relations.  He  had 
the  homiletical  faculty  which  detects  the  natural 
divisions  of  a  text  or  theme  as  an  astronomer  sees 
orderly  constellations  where  common  eyes  see 
only  irregular  and  scattered  stars.  The  facility 
and  felicity  with  which  he  saw  and  expressed  the 
elements  of  a  complete  truth,  discriminated 
between  things  that  differ,  and  arranged  and 
adjusted  related    truths,    were    very    remarkable. 

THE    AUTHORITY    OF   THE    WORD    OF    GOD    I3I 

He  must  have  been  a  clear  thinker  to  make  such 
clear  distinctions.  There  was  no  indefinite  haze 
or  indiscriminate  muddle  about  his  views  or  state- 
ments of  truth  ;  and  we  cannot  but  think  that  he 
owed  even  these  literary  attainments  largely  to 
the  daily  study  of  His  words  who  spake  as  never 
man  spake. 

A  few  examples  may  both  prove  and  illustrate 
what  we  have  said.  In  that  remarkable  book  on 
"The  Ministry  of  the  Spirit,"  contrasting  the 
work  of  Conscience  and  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  he 
thus  represents  the  matter  ;  ^ 

Conscience  Convinces — 
Of  sin  committed; 
Of  righteousness  impossible  ; 
Of  judgment  impending. 

The  Comforter  Convinces — 
Of  sin  committed  ; 
Of  righteousness  imputed  ; 
Of  judgment  accomplished. 

He  further  says,^  that  "  Conscience  is  the  wit- 
ness to  the  law  ;  the  Spirit  is  the  witness  to  grace. 
Conscience  brings  legal  conviction  ;  the  Spirit 
brings  evangelical  conviction  ;  the  one  begets  a 
conviction  unto  despair,  the  other  a  conviction 
unto  hope." 

Who  cannot  see  in  such  distinctions  and  dis- 
criminations as  these  the  fruits  of  a  microscopic 
study  of  the  inspired  word  ?  The  man  who 
beheved  Scripture  to  be  "literature  indwelt  by 
the  Spirit  of  God"  \^  that  in  the  Scripture  the 
Holy  Ghost  speaks,  and  "  we  can  only  understand 
his  thoughts  by  listening  to  his  words  "  ;  *  such  a 

1  Page  202.     2  Page  191.     3  Page  173.    4  Page  176. 


man  would  naturally  examine  into  the  exact  terms 
used,  and  into  the  nicest  shades  of  meaning  which 
distinguish  them  from  each  other,  and  so  learn  for 
himself  to  use  language  with  deep  apprehension 
of  its  significance  and  critical  accuracy  in  its 
application  to  the  expression  of  ideas. 



OR  see,  saith  he,  that  thou  make  all  things 
according  to  the  pattern  shewed  to  thee 
in  the  mount,"  The  church  is  a  divine 
institution.  It  grew  not,  as  many  human  institu- 
tions do,  by  a  process  of  evolution  out  of  man's 
conscious  need.  He  who  saw  what  man  needed, 
fashioned  this  society  of  believers,  and  it  was 
complete  in  all  essentials  from  the  first. 

But,  to  tarry  further  on  the  thought  of  a  scrip- 
tural pattern  of  church  life,  this  dream  reveals  the 
whole  secret  of  Dr.  Gordon's  purpose.  He  was 
not  a  dictator  seeking  to  have  his  own  w-ay,  and 
autocratically  forcing  on  the  church  his  own  will  ; 
nor  a  half-crazy  fanatic  following  some  vagary  or 
impracticable  theory  ;  but,  like  Moses,  he  had  his 
eye  on  a  scriptural  and  divine  pattern,  and  he 
long  and  laboriously  wrought  to  mold  everything 
in  church  life  according  thereto.  That  a  custom 
had  grown  up  was  no  reason  for  its  continuance  ; 
it  might  be,  as  Cyprian  said,  vetustas  erroris. 
"Every  plant  which  my  Heavenly  Father  hath 
not  planted  shall  be  rooted  up, ' '  said  his  Master 


before  him,  when  his  attention  was  called  to  the 
fact  that  his  teaching  had  given  the  Pharisees 
offense.  And  the  imperturbable  spirit  with  which 
Pastor  Gordon  calmly  went  forward,  without 
undue  carefulness  as  to  the  opinions  or  opposition 
he  encountered,  in  the  pursuit  of  his  object,  must 
have  been  caught  from  his  Master.  He  found 
some  plants  growing  in  the  sanctuary  courts  which 
he  knew  his  Heavenly  Father  had  not  planted, 
and  he  determined  to  root  them  up,  though  it 
might  take  twenty  years  to  do  it,  as  it  did. 

It  may  be  well  to  ask,  what  are  the  scriptural 
marks  of  a  church  of  Christ  ?  They  seem  to  be 
four  :  the  apostolic  church  was  an  assembly  for 
•worship  :  an  organized  body  for  aggressive  work 
for  Christ  ;  a  school  for  training  disciples  ;  a  home 
for  the  family  of  God.  Doubtless  all  that  vitally 
pertains  to  the  original  scriptural  conception  of  a 
church  of  Christ  can  be  included  in  this  simple 

I.  Worship  was  the  leading  idea,  as  we  have 
seen,  the  exalting  of  God,  and  his  dear  son  Jesus 
Christ,  and  the  Holy  Spirit,  before  the  thought 
and  adoring  love  of  disciples.  We  find  not  a 
trace  of  sacred  places,  or  sacred  persons,  and 
scarce  a  hint  of  sacred  titnes  or  seaso?ts.  Where- 
ever  and  whenever  God  and  his  worshiping  people 
met,  the  ground  was  thereby  hallowed  and  the 
time  sanctified  ;  and  all  believers  seem  to  have 
been   singularly  on  a  level,  preaching  the  word, 


teaching  the  way  of  God  more  perfectly,  and  even 
administering  sacramental  rites. ^  Worship  seems 
to  have  been  perfectly  simple,  consisting  of  prayer, 
praise,  reading  and  expounding  the  word,  bearing 
witness  to  the  resurrection  of  Christ,  baptizing 
believers,  and  breaking  bread  in  his  name,  with 
at  least  occasional  offerings  for  poor  saints.  There 
are  no  clerical  prerogatives,  titled  officials,  choirs 
or  hired  singers,  no  secular  trustees,  no  worldly 
entertainments,  no  consecrated  buildings,  and  not 
a  sign  of  a  salaried  service  of  any  sort.  God 
seems  to  be  the  center  around  which  the  early 
church  crystallized,  and  the  whole  organization  of 
believers  was  free  from  complicated  methods  and 
worldly  maxims. 

2.  Work  by  all,  in  diverse  spheres  of  activity, 
according  to  diversity  of  gifts,  was  the  law  of 
church  life.  The  Spirit  speaks  expressly  in  the 
Epistle  to  the  Ephesians,^  that  the  very  purpose  of 
all  offices  and  functions,  apostles,  prophets,  evan- 
gelists, pastors,  and  teachers,  was  one  sublime 
end  :  service.  All  the  gifts  and  graces  bestowed 
and  distributed  by  the  Spirit  were  for  the  perfect- 
ing of  the  saints  unto  the  work  of  serving,  unto 
the  building  up  of  the  body  of  Christ,  so  that  there 
might  be  the  double  growth  of  accession  and 
expansion.  The  early  church  had  no  room  for 
an  idle  and  selfish  soul.  Every  believer  was  a 
worker,    warrior,    witness.       He    came    into    the 

1  Compare  Acts  8:4;   11  :  19-21  ;  18  :  26  ;  8  :  35-38. 

2  4:    11-16. 


church  as  soon  as  he  believed  and  was  baptized, 
to  be  a  member  in  the  body  where  every  member 
had  an  office,  and  must  needs  fulfill  his  function 
in  order  to  the  health  and  help  of  the  whole  body. 
The  idea  of  simply  coming  into  the  church  as  a 
candidate  for  salvation  has  no  place  in  apostolic 
ideas  whatever.  The  church  was  composed  of 
professedly  regenerated  people,  giving  themselves 
to  the  work  of  edifying  saints  and  evangelizing 

3.  The  school  feature  is  prominent.  The 
believer  was  a  disciple,  a  learner,  and  he  was  to 
be  docile  and  humble  enough  to  be  ready  to  be 
taught  by  any  one  competent  to  teach.  In  the 
majority  of  cases,  converts  needed  instruction,  and 
there  is  nothing  more  beautiful  than  where  Apollos, 
the  scholar  and  orator  of  Alexandria,  puts  himself 
under  the  tuition  of  two  poor  tent-makers  of 
Corinth,  one  of  them  a  woman,  to  be  taught  the 
way  of  God  more  perfectly.  The  first  theological 
seminary  was  a  humble  lodging,  with  a  single 
student  and  two  professors,  a  man  and  his  wife, 
and  the  wife  the  head  of  the  faculty.  Sublime 
simpHcity  indeed  !  where  he  that  hears  and 
believes  enters  a  divine  school,  and  takes  his 
place  as  a  pupil  to  be  further  taught  whatsoever 
Christ  has  commanded,  and  trained  to  be  a 
teacher  and  helper  of  others. 

4.  We  must  add  to  all  these  the  conception  of 
a  family  home.     In  order  to  become  a  radiating 


point  the  church  must  be  first  a  rallying  point. 
There  must  be  a  bond  of  brotherhood  and  asso- 
ciation in  order  to  a  mutual  edification  and  an 
effective  co-operation  in  service.  And  so  we  find 
love,  the  bond  of  perfectness  and  the  impulse  to 
all  service,  dominant  in  the  early  church.  Love 
knows  no  distinctions,  except  it  be  in  favor  of  the 
least  and  lowest,  and  love  made  everybody  wel- 
come and  at  home.  Poverty  and  obscurity,  ignor- 
ance and  illiteracy,  shut  no  convert  out  from  sym- 
pathy and  fellowship.  Within  the  assembly  of 
saints  there  were  no  caste  lines  or  barriers.  The 
idea  of  renting  or  selling  pews  or  sittings  at  auction 
to  the  highest  bidder — of  setting  up  a  property 
right  and  restriction  in  a  place  of  worship,  to  make 
a  poor  man  feel  ill  at  ease  or  shut  him  out 
altogether — the  very  suggestion  is  utterly  foreign 
to  all  New  Testament  notions.^ 

A  preacher  and  pastor  who  thus  magnifies  his 
ministry  in  its  five-fold  relation  to  the  person  of 
Christ  and  the  Holy  Ghost,  the  gospel  of  grace, 
the  church  of  God  and  the  kingdom  of  God,  as 
in  every  department  simply  a  service,  will  com- 
municate, consciously  or  unconsciously,  the  con- 
tagion of  his  holy  enthusiasm,  to  all  receptive 
hearers.  His  preaching  will  be  a  university  edu- 
cation in  divine  things.  He  will  not  think  of  his 
church  as  a  field  to  work  so  much  as  a  force  to 
work  with  ;  not   as  the  parish  which  claims  and 

1  Compare  i  Cor.  11  :  17-22  ;  James  2  :  1-9, 


bounds  his  love  and  labor  so  much  as  the  garner 
containing  the  good  seed  of  the  kingdom,  to  be 
scattered  for  a  harvest.  He  will  try  to  train  every 
believer  into  a  herald  and  witness,  so  that  from 
ear  to  heart  and  then  from  heart  to  lip  and  so  from 
lip  to  ear  again,  the  gospel  message  may  run  on 
its  ceaseless  round  of  salvation. 

Because  Dr.  Gordon  kept  such  a  scriptural 
pattern  before  him  and  worked  toward  that,  he 
gradually  purged  worship  of  all  its  meretricious 
secular  arts,  led  his  people  into  manifold  forms  of 
holy  service,  made  the  church  literally  a  training 
school  for  disciples,  and  a  home  where  poor  and 
rich,  high  and  low,  met  on  terms  of  equal  right 
and  privilege.  There  was  nothing  for  which  he 
wrought  which  was  not  a  part  of  the  scriptural 
model,  and  he  succeeded  because  he  knew  that 
God  was  with  him  and  he  could  afford  to  wait 
God's  time. 

We  can  again  understand  the  dream  and  its 
interpretation,  for  it  is  obvious  that,  in  waking 
and  sleeping  hours  alike,  the  question  before  him 
was,  what  would  Christ  himself  say  if  he  came  to 
church  ?  Would  he  find  the  assembly  of  saints 
exemplifying  the  scriptural  and  spiritual  idea  of 
the  body  of  Christ  ? 



OHN  OWEN  gave  to  the  church  a  Piieii- 
matologia — a  discourse  upon  the  Holy 
Spirit  which,  in  his  day,  taught  the 
church  a  much  needed  lesson.  He  maintained 
that  each  different  age  has  its  own  test  of  ortho- 
doxy. Before  Christ  came  it  was  found  in  the 
attitude  of  God's  people  as  to  Messianic  prophecy  ; 
in  the  day  of  Christ's  personal  incarnation,  it  was 
found  in  his  reception  or  rejection  by  those  to 
whom  he  presented  his  claims  as  Son  of  God  ; 
after  the  day  of  Pentecost  the  test  was  whether  or 
not  we  have  received  the  Holy  Ghost,  and  how  far 
he  has  freedom  to  work  in  and  through  us. 

Adoniram  J.  Gordon,  unconsciously  perhaps, 
gave  to  the  church  another  pneiiviatologia.  He 
sought  to  realize  for  himself  what  it  meant  to  be 
like  Daniel,  "  greatly  beloved  of  God  "  ;  and  so 
he  became  in  himself  both  an  expression  and  exhi- 
bition of  the  fact  of  the  Spirit's  indwelling  and 
inworking.  From  this  personal  experience  he 
carried  the  doctrine  and  influence  into  the  collec- 
tive body  of  behevers,  and  so  sought  to  make  the 



church  of  which  he  was  pastor  a  Hving  temple  of 
the  Holy  Spirit. 

This  conception  of  the  indwelling  and  presi- 
dency of  the  Holy  Spirit  affected  two  great 
spheres  :  first,  his  individual  life  ;  and  secondly, 
his  pastoral  life.  Personally  he  was  so  indwelt  by 
the  Spirit  that  he  saw  truth  through  illumined 
eyes.  He  was  a  seer,  a  modern  prophet,  in  the 
sense  of  insight  if  not  of  foresight.  In  Samuel's 
days  "there  was  no  open  vision,"  and  the  word 
of  the  Lord  was  correspondingly  precious.  Han- 
nah's son  was  not  only  a  Samuel,  God-asked,  but 
a  Theodore,  God-given — a  special  bestowment  of 
the  Lord  to  revive  the  spirit  of  prophecy  and 
restore  the  open  vision.  A.  J.  Gordon  was  given 
of  God  to  the  modern  church  in  the  days  of  a 
waning  spirituality,  when  the  sense  of  the  Holy 
Spirit's  personality,  deity,  and  even  reality  was 
dull  and  dim,  and  in  some  cases  quite  lost,  to 
revive  the  impression  and  quicken  the  expression 
of  the  Spirit's  actual  and  active  indwelling.  If  he 
had  any  special  office  which  was  unique,  it  was 
to  appreciate,  and  in  his  own  person  and  life  illus- 
trate, the  inworking  and  outworking  of  the  Holy 
Ghost  ;  and  on  a  larger  scale  furnish  both  demon- 
stration and  illustration  of  the  Spirit's  administra- 
tion of  church  life  also  under  favorable  conditions. 

Upon  this  last  and  most  important  department 
of  thought  it  is  the  less  necessary  to  dilate,  inas- 
much as  to  it   Dr.  Gordon  gives  more  than  thirty 


pages  in  his  work  on  "The  Ministry  of  the 
Spirit."  ^  But,  for  the  sake  of  those  who  may  not 
have  read  that  masterly  treatise,  and  to  complete 
the  interpretation  of  this  dream,  it  may  be  well  to 
sketch  in  outline  the  simple  yet  sublime  concep- 
tion presented  in  Scripture,  and  particularly  in  the 
Acts  of  the  Apostles,  of  the  Spirit's  administration 
of  church  life. 

Considered  as  a  temple  of  which  Christ  is  the 
corner-stone,  and  in  which  believers  are  living 
stones,  he  is  the  Divine  Indweller,  and  holds  there 
his  throne  and  seat,  as  the  Shekinah  in  the  Holy 
of  Holies  of  old.  Considered  as  a  body  of  which 
Christ  is  the  head,  and  all  regenerate  souls  mem- 
bers, he  is  the  all-pervading  and  controlling  Spirit 
that  vitalizes  and  subsidizes  the  whole.  The 
moment  such  a  conception  is  formed  in  the  mind, 
all  the  rest  follows.  He  who  is  enthroned  in  a 
temple  properly  claims  all  homage  and  obedi- 
ence ;  he  who  as  the  Spirit  of  Life  fills  and 
thrills  the  body,  not  only  7tiay  but  must  rule  in  the 
whole  organism,  unless  as  in  diseased  members 
the  conditions  are  so  abnormal  as  to  interrupt  his 
proper  activity.  And  again,  as  the  spirit  of  life  is 
the  organizing  power  in  the  body,  and  distributes 
blood,  nerve-force,  nutritive  energy  in  every  part 
of  the  body,  and,  as  the  central  will,  wields  for 
life's  ends  every  member  and  organ — so  the  Spirit 
of   God  where  he  is    permitted    to  control   abso- 

1  Chapter  vii. 


lutely  will  make  every  part  of  the  body  of  Christ 
both  healthful  and  useful.  If  we  yield  he  will 

Hence  follow  several  vital  conclusions  : 
I.  As  to  the  constitution  and  organization  of 
the  church,  members  should  be  added,  and  all 
officers  should  be  appointed,  by  the  Spirit.  No 
ceremonies,  ordinances,  or  sacraments  can  make 
a  church-member  any  more  than  any  human  power 
can  add  a  member  to  the  body.  We  are  to  be 
jealous  and  zealous  not  to  have  multitudes  added 
to  church  rolls,  but  "to  the  Lord."  And,  in 
electing  officers,  we  are  to  look  out  those  who 
have  not  only  honest  report  and  wisdom  but  are 
full  of  the  Holy  Ghost ;  otherwise  how  can  he  be 
unhindered  in  his  administration  ?  Every  unre- 
generate  or  even  unsanctified  or  woman  in  a 
church  office  or  even  a  church-membership, 
obstructs  the  divine  policy  of  administration,  so 
that  we  may  virtually  unseat  the  Holy  Spii'it  from 
his  rightful  throne  and  "see,"  by  putting  into,  or 
allowing  to  be  put  into,  places  of  official  trust, 
those  who  are  not  in  sympathy  with  the  Spirit's 
mind  and  methods.  What  then  shall  be  said  of 
the  inventio?t  of  a  whole  hierarchy,  which  borrows 
its  entire  framework  from  Constantine's  imperial 
court,  with  a  score  of  offices  unknown  to  the  apos- 
tolic church,  with  vestments  and  diadems,  palaces 
and  retinues,  salaries  and  dignities  ;  and  what  of 
the  presumption   of  claiming   to  be  the  vicar  of 

THE    SPIRIT    IN    THE    CHURCH  1 43 

Christ,  when  his  ascension  gift  was  his  own  Divine 
Vicar,  the  Paraclete  !  Is  this  not  indirect  blas- 
phemy against  the  Holy  Spirit  ? 

We  begin  to  understand  now  why  this  gifted  pas- 
tor cared  so  little  for  ecclesiastical  honors,  dignities, 
and  preferments.  He  yielded  himself  to  the  Holy 
Spirit,  to  be  simply  a  servant — the  servant  of  Christ 
and  the  servant  of  the  church  for  Jesus'  sake.  All 
airs  and  assumptions  of  lordship  were  to  him 
arrogant  and  offensive,  and  implied  disloyalty  to 
the  Spirit.  He  was  one  of  those  of  whom  Hudson 
Taylor  says  that  they  are  not  so  anxious  to  be  suc- 
cessors of  the  apostles  who  went  indeed  to  bring 
food  but  brought  no  inquiring  soul  back  with  them, 
as  to  be  successors  of  the  Samaritan  woman  who 
forgot  her  waterpot  in  her  zeal  to  bear  the  living 
water  to  the  thirsty  souls  at  Sychar,  and  brought 
back  a  whole  city  to  sit  at  Jesus'  feet. 

2.  As  to  the  distribution  of  spheres  of  service. 
Who  is  he  that  sets  in  the  church,  apostles, 
prophets,  evangelists,  pastors  and  teachers,  elders 
and  deacons  and  deaconesses  ;  and  appoints 
every  servant  for  every  service  ?  Who  knows  the 
heart,  and  knows  the  work,  and  can  fit  each  for 
the  other,  but  the  Lord,  the  Spirit  ?  Of  what 
transcendent  importance  to  the  church  to  have  a 
divine  wisdom  select  and  a  divine  grace  qualify 
every  member  for  his  own  office  ;  nay,  to  have  the 
Spirit  determine  what  work  needs  to  be  done,  and 
what  are  the  time,  place,  and  way  to  begin  it  or 


enlarge  it  !  What  an  awfully  august  privilege  and 
responsibility  combined,  if  it  be  possible  and 
practicable  for  a  church  so  to  be  surrendered  to  the 
Holy  Ghost  and  dominated  by  him,  as  that  in  all 
deliberations  and  determinations,  in  all  results 
reached  through  prayerful  counsel  and  obedient 
self-surrender,  it  may  be  reverently  true  to  say, 
"//  seemed  good  to  the  Holy  Ghost  and  to  us.'' 

3.  As  to  the  practical  purity  and  spirituality  of 
church  life.  Temple  of  the  Holy  Ghost  !  Body 
of  Christ  indwelt  by  the  Spirit  of  God  !  What  a 
hallowing  must  there  be  tothose  who  really  believe 
this  !  What  a  sad  commentary  on  the  church's 
attitude  toward  the  Spirit,  that  it  is  possible  with- 
out remonstrance  for  godless  singers  to  be  hired 
to  conduct  the  service  of  song,  which  is  a  mockery 
without  the  grace  in  the  heart  that  makes  melody 
unto  the  Lord  !  That  it  is  possible  in  choosing  a 
pastor,  to  consult  only  his  intellectual  standing 
and  popular  oratory,  without  ever  asking  whether 
he  be  a  spirit-filled  man  !  That  it  is  possible  for 
such  an  unscriptural  office  to  exist  as  that  of  secu- 
lar trustees,  and  that  men  should  be  deliberately 
put  into  control  without  any  regard  often  to  the 
fact  that  they  do  not  even  profess  to  be 
regenerate  ! 

There  are  some  who  cry  down,  by  the  obnoxi- 
ous name  of  "pessimism,"  those  who  hint  that 
the  modern  church  is  drifting  toward  apostasy. 
Yet  what    is  apostasy  but  a   departure  from  the 

THE    SPIRIT    IN    THE    CHURCH  I45 

essefitial  principles  of  Christian  life  and  church 
life  !  And  Dr.  Gordon,  gentle  as  he  was,  and 
slow  to  accuse  his  brethren,  felt  in  his  soul  that 
the  church  of  Christ  has  largely  lost  sight  of  the 
very  essentials  of  a  Spirit-filled  and  Spirit-ruled 
body;  and  that  Romanizing  ritualism,  rationalistic 
skepticism,  and  a  world-assimilating  secularism, 
are  the  trinity  practically  worshiped  in  the  place 
of  Father,  Son,  and  Holy  Ghost. 



R.  GORDON  being  dead  yet  speaketh. 
Perhaps  some  who  would  not  hear 
while  he  lived  will  listen,  now  that  he 
is  no  more  among  us,  to  the  last  message  which 
he  can  ever  deliver  to  his  brethren. 

What  is  the  voice  that  breaks  even  the  death 
silence  ? 

1.  He  tells  us  that  preaching  is  nothing  if  it 
be  not  the  utterance  of  the  mind  of  the  Spirit,  and 
that,  therefore,  we  who  speak  must  tarry  long  in 
the  closet  with  the  word,  that  he  may  unloose  its 
seals  and  unveil  our  eyes  to  behold  wondrous 
things  out  of  his  inspired  book. 

2.  He  tells  us  that  prayer  is  the  one  vital 
element  in  all  true  worship,  praying  in  the  Holy 
Ghost,  asking  in  Christ's  name  and  by  the  power 
of  the  Spirit  ;  the  believer  becoming  the  channel 
of  a  double  intercession,  the  Holy  Spirit  interced- 
ing within  by  originating  all  true  prayer,  the 
ascended  Christ  interceding  at  God's  own  right 
hand,  by  receiving,   perfecting,   and  transmitting 

all  true  prayer. 


THE    LAST    MESSAGE    TO    THE    CHURCH         14  7 

3.  He  tells  us  that  praise,  which  is  the  ele- 
ment of  worship  apposite  to  prayer,  needs  a 
spiritual  mind  to  appreciate  and  a  spiritual  frame 
to  exercise  it.  Church  music  as  a  fine  art  simply, 
is  an  affront  to  God  rather  than  an  approach  to 
him,  for  it  assumes  and  presumes  to  set  up  an  art 
standard  in  place  of  the  beauty  of  holiness. 
There  are  two  passages,  respectively  in  the 
Epistles  to  the  Ephesians  ^  and  the  Colossians, 
which  being  combined,  would  read  somewhat 
thus  : 

"  Let  the  word  of  Christ  dwell  in  you  richly  in 
all  wisdom,  and  be  filled  with  the  Spirit  ;  speak- 
ing among  yourselves,  teaching  and  admonishing 
one  another  in  psalms  and  hymns  and  spiritual 
songs,  singing  with  grace  in  your  hearts  and  mak- 
ing melody  in  your  hearts  to  the  Lord."  Thus 
combined,  we  get  a  little  world  of  suggestive 
teaching  in  this  narrow  compass.  We  are  taught 
that  the  prerequisite  to  all  holy  service  in  song  is 
two-fold  :  rich  indwelling  of  the  word  of  God, 
and  complete  infilling  of  the  Spirit ;  then  our 
songs  become  a  holy  outpouring  of  a  spiritual 
acquaintance  with  the  word  of  God  and  the  Spirit 
of  God.  Again,  we  are  taught  that  the  attraction 
of  such  song  is  found  in  the  grace  and  melody  of 
heart,  which  only  God  can  detect  or  hear.  But 
we  are  also  taught  a  lesson,  most  unique  and 
novel,    that  such    song   is  a   vehicle    for   mutual 

1  Eph.  5  ;  19  ;    Col.  3  :  x6. 


teaching,  exhorting,  admonishing.  In  other  words, 
it  is  one  way  of  preaching  the  gospel  of  salvation 
to  sinners  and  of  edification  to  saints. 

How  blind  we  have  been  that  we  have  never 
understood  the  value  of  holy  song  as  a  means  of 
teaching,  reproof,  correction,  and  instruction  in 
righteousness,  like  the  inspired  Scripture,  and  of 
imparting  wisdom,  grace,  strength,  comfort,  like 
the  inspiring  Spirit  !  Church  music,  purged  of  its 
secular  corruptions  and  charged  with  the  Spirit's 
life,  might  become  spiritual  food  and  drink,  medi- 
cine and  message,  all  at  once  ;  a  feeder,  healei, 
helper  of  souls.      Is  it  that  now  ? 

The  dream  and  the  dreamer  are  left  to  us  only 
in  memory.  But  was  not  God  speaking  to  the 
whole  church  when,  in  the  visions  of  the  night,  he 
stamped  on  Pastor  Gordon's  mind  and  heart  the 
image  of  Christ  coming  to  church  ? 

Let  us  judge  ourselves,  that  we  be  not  judged. 
Let  us  try  our  ways  and  turn  again  unto  the  Lord. 
Let  us  dare  cease  measuring  ourselves  by  our- 
selves, and  comparing  ourselves  among  ourselves, 
and  set  up  God's  own  standard  of  measurement 
and  comparison. 

"  And  the  Lord  said  unto  me,  .  .  What  seest 
thou  ? 

And  I  said,  A  plumbline. 

Then  said  the  Lord, 

Behold,  I  will  set  a  plumbline  in  the  midst  of 
my  people."  ^ 

1  Amos  7  :  8. 

THE    LAST    MESSAGE    TO    THE    CHURCH         I49 

God  is  applying  his  standard  to  the  work  which 
men  have  builded,  and  its  unhallowed  and  irreg- 
ular construction  is  sadly  evident.  Who  among 
us  with  the  clearness  of  a  divinely  given  vision, 
the  courage  of  a  divinely  wrought  conviction,  will 
dare  pull  down  what  is  not  plumb  and  level  by 
his  standards,  and  rebuild  according  to  the  divine 
pattern  ? 

Blessed  temple  of  God,  indeed,  to  which  the 
Master  can  come  and  find  no  need  of  the  scourge 
of  small  cords.  Blessed  church  of  which  he  can 
say  : 

"  Thou  hast  kept  my  word, 

And  hast  not  denied  my  name. 

I  have  loved  thee. 

Because  thou  hast  kept  the  word  of  my 

I  also  will  keep  thee 

From  the  hour  of  temptation. "  ^ 

1  Rev.  3  :  8-10. 

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(b  The   English   Bible   in   American  d) 

d)  Eloquence  (s 

i^  By  Rev.  THOMAS  E.  BARTLETT  ^ 

-^  i6mo.     43  pages.     10  ceats  '/ 

j/)  Very   readable   and    helpful  (v, 

/f  ^ 

J?  Corner  Stones  of  a  Baptist  Church  jf 

Y  By  ALVAH  S.  HOBART,  D.  D.  v 

(Vj  i6mo.     26  pages.    5  ceats  d) 

'S?  One   cannot  find  anywhere  a  more  compact  exposition  of  V 

(Jj  the  essential  elements  of  a  Baptist  church  (jj 



This  book  is 


under  no  circumstances  to  be 
en  from  the  Building 


fnrm  411.